There has been a mill on the River Wye, near it's confluence with the River Derwent, at Rowsley for at least 600 years. By 1591 there was both a corn mill and a walk (fulling) mill here, later becoming a sawmill and a bakery. In 1874, John Caudwell took a lease from the Duke of Rutland, demolished these two, by then, derelict mills and built a huge flour and provender (animal food) mill powered by two great breast shot water wheels.
The flour mill had eight sets of millstones and the provender mill had three more. Elen years later, following the International Milling Exhibition in London. Cauldwell replaced the stones with newly developed roller mills and remodelled the whole plant. Roller mills use precision ground chilled cast iron rolls which made possible for the first time quality milling without stone contamination.
The waterwheels were found to be underpowered for the new plant, and so they were successively replaced on the flour side, first by a 48 inch diameter "Trent" turbine and in 1914 by the 76hp "Francis" turbine which is still in use today. The provender wheel was replaced in 1898 by a 50hp "Little Giant" which is also still in use today to generate electricity.
A few further alterations were made in 1930 but basically visitors today can see a fine example on all four floors of an early water powered roller mill as a complete "machine", believed to be the only such mill left in Europe that can be visited.
Caudwell's mill can be visited every day throughout the summer and at weekends during the winter months. The mill has a reputation for producing a high quality strong bread flour using Canadian hard wheat but also produces a strong wholemeal flour. The mill is an important educational resource for school children, who can take part in special workshops, with worksheets and a teacher's pack available.
Local craftsmen, a craft shop and a cafe now occupy the stables, cart sheds and stores around the courtyard.
Open 1st March to 31st Oct daily 10am to 6pm
1st Nov to 28th Feb weekends only 10am to 4.30pm
For uodated opening dates and more information see www.caudwellsmill.co.uk
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