This weekend sees the beginning of the Six Nations, so whether you’re planning on following the games or doing everything you can to avoid them, this week’s blog should be able to give you some interesting roller milling facts about each of the six nations, to either whet your appetite for the weekend games, or provide a non-rugby haven.
The first game this weekend sees Scotland travel to Wales to start the championship. As the Scottish players enter into the fiery atmosphere of the Welsh stadium, they will be relying on the co-operation of their teammates to make the game a success. Well what better reflection of co-operation in the milling industry is there than the Co-Operative Wholesale Society. Scotland formed their own co-operative society in 1868 and opened their first flour mill in 1891. Learn more about the SCWS here.
The Welsh team will no doubt be fired up to try and interrupt the co-operation of the Scottish team. Fire may aid in their endeavours to create a spectacle in Cardiff, yet in the world of milling, fire has been a threat for hundreds of years. This did not change with the advent of roller milling and could in fact be even more costly, given the expensive machinery that would have to be replaced. When a fire took place at Rank’s Atlantic Flour Mill, Barry Dock, in 1912, the damage caused was estimated to be somewhere between £15,000 and £20,000. Read more about the threat of fire to millers here.
The next match sees the French host Ireland in Paris. The Ireland national rugby team boasts a long history, dating back to 1875. This makes the rugby team a few years older than the roller milling industry in Ireland, as the adoption of this machinery was really prompted by an 1877 visit to Vienna (see top picture). The first installations into mills then began to take place in 1879-1880. Click here to find out more about the history of roller milling in Ireland.
The French team, as always, are a bit of an unknown entering this championship. However, what is known is that under their new coach, they will certainly try to engineer a way to win. One French establishment that has already found a way to win was the French Manufacturing firm MM. Rose Frères of Poissy. In the Milling Exhibition at Paris, 1885, they were awarded a Diploma of Honour for their stand, containing their corrugated and smooth roller mills. Learn more about this firm here.
The final game of the weekend sees Italy play England in Rome. Whilst Italy may be the newcomer to the Six Nations, the opposite could be said in regards to the history of roller milling. In the early 1870’s, Mr. Friedrich Wegmann of Naples patented his porcelain roller mill and the adjustments, made in 1876, led to a ‘Great improvement in the colour and strength of the flour’ (The Miller, January 1, 1877, p.417). This machine was used throughout the world and played an important role in the development of the roller milling industry in Europe. To learn more about this history, click here.
And finally, the defending champions England, who will be looking to build on last year’s success with good teamwork. Just as every team is made up of individuals, some more prominent than others, so it is in other establishments. The architectural firm of Gelder and Kitchen was responsible for designing and building many mills throughout Britain, including many for Joseph Rank. Although two individuals founded the firm, it was only made a success with the help of other individuals; whilst the lives of Mr. Gelder and Mr. Kitchen were not solely defined by their work at the firm. For example, Sir Alfred Gelder was Mayor of Hull five times and a Member of Parliament, alongside his profession as an architect. To learn more about his life, click here.
This blog has hopefully demonstrated the wealth of information that can be found on the new Modern Milling webpages and whatever team you may be supporting, or avoiding, this weekend, something of interest can be found for all.