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Cleator Moor Flour Mill

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Cleator Moor Flour Mill Fire, 1892
On November 16th 1882 a new steam powered flour mill was opened at Cleator Moor. The facility was owned and operated by the Cleator Moor Co-operative Society. It replaced old dilapidated buildings which were some little distance away and not very convenient and had been on lease to the Society.

The building was erected on ground adjoining the  Market Hall, near the Wesleyan Chapel. It was built of hard fire bricks, from the Lonsdale Works at Whitehaven. The contractor was Mr J. Marlin of Preston.

The building as regards strength, durability, machinery and internal arrangements stood second to none in Cumberland. The total cost of the new Mill was £8,000.

The building was five storeys high. On the ground floor were two powerful engines of 35 horsepower. They were erected by Mr Stephenson and Son of Preston. The engines were fitted with patent automatic cut offs which ran the full height of the entire building.

On the first floor, there were rollers and millstones and a patent American flour packer.

On the second floor, there were five pairs of French Burr stones and one conical bran duster.

On the third floor, there was a separator and a brush machine for separating grain. There were also purifiers and dust collection systems.

On the fourth floor, there was a grain screener, three centrifugal bran scoopers, and a middling dressing machine. There were also three storage tins capable of storing 600 bushels of grain. There were two exhaust systems for dealing with hot air from the millstones with supply pipes running the entire length of the building.

On the fifth floor, on the top storey of the building, there was a large place principally used for the storage of grain. The whole of the machinery was American and described as being, "put in, irrespective of cost."

On opening day, at 3pm, the machinery was put into motion. There were a large number of people present, mostly members of the Co-operative Society. The steam was turned on by Mr Joseph Stephenson.

The management of the Mill was under the supervision of Mr W. Poole who had been in the employ of the society for several years and was described as adept at the milling business.

Tea was served in the Market Hall, which had been decorated for the occasion, with flags and evergreens. On the walls were suspended suitable mottos, including:
  • Co-operation unites capital with labour.
  • Welcome.
  • Success to the new mill.
About 1,000 persons sat down at tables, with a substantial meal offered. During intervals, songs were rendered by Mr E. Irving and Mr J. Quigley of the Cleator Moor Co-operative Society. 

This mill however ten years later, in January of 1892, was destroyed by fire. Tragically one of the fireman Who was standing on a ladder directing a hose into the blaze fell to the ground and died shortly afterwards. The adjoining Wesleyan Chapel had a very narrow escape. The flames were mastered and confined to the mill.

Following the devastating fire, a new mill was immediately built together with a warehouse and bakery which was a new venture for the society. A feature of the mill was that it was lighted throughout by electricity, the first of its kind in Cleator Moor.

In 1985, the Flour Mill complex was sold to Copeland Borough Council and converted to a workspace to help new businesses in the area prosper. In 1988, Cumbria County Council became the first tenant after the mill had been renovated.

In 1995, the workspace changed its name to the Cleator Moor Business Centre. And then, in 2006 changed its name to the Phoenix Enterprise Centre Community Interest Company.

In 2010, the old Mill underwent a further refurbishment at a cost of £1 million. Today the Phoenix Enterprise Centre is thriving.

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Cleator Moor Flour Mill
Cleator Moor Flour Mill
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