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British Industrial History

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Robbins and Power

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of City Flour Mills, Coventry

1868 William Robbins left the partnership with Richard Robbins, and John Powers, Millers and Corn Dealers, at Coventry, Kenilworth and Stoneleigh, in the county of Warwick, under the firm of Robbins and Powers[1]

The two partners Richard Robbins and John Powers married the Farmer sisters of Stoneleigh.[2]

1920s Developed a pre-packed flour which they called Homepride which was later acquired by Spillers

1942 Report on rebuild.[3]

Rebuilding and repair work has just been completed at Messrs. Robbins and Powers, City Flour Mills, Wheatley Street, Coventry, who have again begun milling. The mills sustained damage during the air blitz on Coventry on April 10, 1941.

It is one of the largest mills in the Midlands, and its running again will prove a boon to farmers in Warwickshire and in other parts of the Midlands, who can now transport to it the products of their increased wartime wheat acreages. Its output, after the grain has been put through the various processes, amounts to 400-500 tons of flour and feeding stuffs a week. This means that practically the whole population of Coventry can be supplied with national wheatmeal flour from these mills.

The rebuilding included a complete screen-room, machines, and wheat cleaning plant. The screen room includes all the latest appliances which the skill of the milling engineer has devised for the production of pure flour. The original mill had 16 pairs of stones, and it served its purpose in an effective manner until 1870, when there was a revolution in the milling industry. This took the form of a changeover to the roller system of milling. The mills were brought up to date and equipped with a roller system plant. Improvements have been made from time to time.

The mills are driven by a 500 h.p. horizontal compound condensing engine, and its water supply is drawn from the Swanswell, where it is transformed into steam and passes through the engine and is returned to the pool. The flywheel of the engine is diameter and is claimed by engineers as the largest in the Midlands. The engine has two large cylinders, one named 'Mabel', and the other 'Jane', after the wives of the founders of the firm.

The mills came into being about a century ago through the enterprise of a Dunchurch miller named Mr. Francis Robbins, who owned mills at Dunchurch, Baginton. Kenilworth, and Stoneleigh. He was latterly joined by Mr. John Powers. The mill at Stoneleigh was dismantled because the ground landlord, the then Lord Leigh, decided to have no manufacturing on his estate. The present City Flour Mills were then built, and its structure included the 200 ft. chimney, which is such a familiar landmark in Coventry’s industrial landscape to-day. Its completion was marked by a dinner held in unusual circumstances on the flat coping stone at the top of the chimney.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 19 June 1868
  2. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Monday 01 December 1919
  3. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 15 July 1942