Of the many industries of 'Merrie England', that of milling belongs to the more familiar order. Sussex has its full share of mills, and, besides their eminently useful - aye, more than that - character, it must be confessed that, in their way, they add something to the picturesqueness of the landscape. Our hills are dotted far and wide with the old-fashioned windmills, while who has not ofttimes stopped and reflected at yon watermill, so calmly and peacefully doing its work - a work upon which we depend for the greatest article of the food supply of our millions. These thoughts had scarcely passed through us when 'Glynde, Glynde', was shouted by the railway officials, and we alighted at that station, only a short distance from Lewes. Here we met Mr Cooper, of the firm of Messrs Cooper and Aylwin, millers, bakers, confectioners, and corn dealers, who have recently started an enterprise which bids fair to share no small measure of that prosperity which has characterised other local ones. After genially conversing upon topics of the day, Mr Cooper led the way out of the station towards his steam roller mills and hygienic bakery, which stand on our left, quite by themselves. Inspection proceeded forthwith. The mill was built some 40 years ago by Mr W Medhurst, of Ranscombe, the late Lord Hampden being the then owner. That revered nobleman's son, Capt the Hon T S Brand, RN, is the present landlord. The mill is a four-storied structure, built up to the first floor of substantial flint, with cement facings on the outside. The rest of the building is of timber, covered with slates - admirable forethought of Mr Medhurst's, inasmuch as it combines strength with lightness and ensures the interior being perfectly dry at all seasons. Built on to this is the engine and boiler room, two bakehouses (one only recently added) and the chimney stack rising some distance above the mill.
A GLANCE AT THE INTERIOR
What brought us here was the fact that Messrs Cooper and Aylwin have within the past few months introduced the roller system, in place of the old millstones, and fitted out their mill accordingly. The process, we believe, is of American origin, and it is an exceedingly interesting one. The advantages claimed for it are manifold, in fact, it is said to bring modern milling almost to a state of perfection. Of course, we give this statement to the prejudice of the old saying 'New brooms', etc. One thing we can bear testimony to - it produces the very finest flour, which, in turn, makes the most delightful bread. We will endeavour to take our readers, metaphorically, over the mill. On the ground floor is the office, elevator bottoms, shafting, the stone spouts, large spur and other gear driving the hog corn and oat stones. On ascending to the first floor we find the crown wheels and large main drivebelt, 12 inches wide, which drives the four sets of roller mills. In one corner is the 'Eureka' wheat cleaning machine, through which all the wheat, previous to grinding, is passed in order to take out by means of sieves and air currents all foreign matter in the shape of sticks, stones, straws, and every particle of chaff, seeds, and dust. It is then elevated to the grinding bin over the roller mills. On this floor we also notice the four sets of roller mills and four sets of elevators in front of each, which elevate the material from each machine to the top floor to have the flour, semolina, and offal separated. The function of each roller is to crush the corn gradually, and at each reduction to extract the flour, etc, till nothing but offal remains. This is effected as far as the bran is concerned by means of corrugated rollers, and in the case of the sharps by means of smooth rollers. Here is likewise the scalper for finishing the bran. The second floor is occupied to a great extent by bins in which is stored the wheat, barley, oats, etc, together with a line of shafting extending nearly its whole length, and which dries the dressing machines on the floor above. Here are also the before mentioned elevators running through the floor to the one above; the double purifier, which on the one side purifies the coarse and on the other side the fine semolina, previous to its being ground into flour on the smooth rolls; an oscillating sieve which finishes the sharps; and the sack hoist. We now proceed to the third and top floor of all, where are situated the elevator heads, the four centrifugal flour dressing machines (each making a different grade of flour from the same grain), the double rotary scalper, wheat elevators and wheat worm, conveying the cleaned wheat to the different bins. We are informed that the materials are not once manipulated by hand from the time the dirty wheat is emptied over the grain cleaning machine till it is sacked off as flour, bran, and sharps. Descending to the basement again, we seek the motive power for driving the mill. This is a 20 horse-power compound condensing engine with a fly wheel of 15 feet in diameter, which was in motion at the time of our visit. This engine used to pump the water which supplied the village of Glynde before the source of the supply was transferred to the dairy, the four treble-barrel pumps being still attached and ready in case of emergency. The engine is fed with steam from a well-made Lancashire boiler, by Annan and Co, 24 ft long by 6½ ft in diameter, which works at a pressure of 50lbs to the square inch. There are two flues and furnaces, fitted with patent draught-regulating doors and patent ball gauge which automatically stops the water from rushing out of the boiler on the accidental breaking of the glass. In one corner of the engine room stands a two horse-power engine driving a 50-light dynamo, which supplies the mill, bakehouse, and ovens with electric light, one 32 candle-power lamp being suspended over the entrance of the mill, illuminating the station yard. We also noticed in this department a staging on which is fixed an engineers' lathe for casual repairs to the machinery.
Access to the bakery is obtained from the engine-room. First, however, we find ourselves in the old bakehouse, built about the same time as the mill. Here is the old furnace oven which is now almost disused, having to give place to the new hygienic oven installed in a spacious new bakehouse by Geen and Sons of Lewisham. Of this Messrs Cooper and Aylwin speak in high praise, combining as it does economy of fuel, time and labour, with absolute cleanliness. It is built of the best hard burnt bricks from Capt Brand's estate, and the furnace door is constructed at the back in a separate department, so that all fuel is kept out of the bakehouse proper, the flues running round the top, bottom, and sides, and not into the oven itself. This is a decided improvement on the old system, as there is no danger of the fumes entering the baking chamber, and it gives a pleasing air of cleanliness and order to the place. The front of the oven is finished in red bricks, with pyrometer for gauging the heat, oven and flue damper, hot water tank (built in the side), and large 'prover' for small goods. Everything works very smoothly indeed, and Messrs Cooper and Aylwin have the satisfaction of knowing that in the first six months that the oven has been built, their trade in bread and small goods increased quite three sacks per week. This rate of increase has continued so satisfactory that the landlord (who, it is well known, studies the interests of his tenants to an extent that few large landowners do in these days) has kindly made arrangements for an additional one. We may add that Messrs Cooper and Aylwin both possess certificates from the City Guide of London for efficiency in milling and mechanical engineering, and they are assisted by a very able and trustworthy staff of employee, who take a personal interest in their duties, which goes a long way towards making a business a financial success. To use their employers' own words, 'They could not wish for better men'. Putting ourselves in the position of the men, we feel they, with us, reciprocate this compliment. 'Nothing succeeds like success', and Messrs Cooper and Aylwin are on the right road.