Caudwell’s Mill is the best place in England to see the operation of the roller milling system developed in Hungary and the United States and publicised at the International Milling Museum in London in 1881. The most characteristic mills using the process were enormous structures at the principal ports, such as London, Birkenhead and Newcastle, but many smaller mills inland were adapted for roller milling in the late nineteenth century.
The mill at Rowsley on the Derbyshire River Wye has existed for at least 400 years. The present mill building was erected by John Caudwell in 1874 and the business remained in the hands of his family until 1978, after which ownership passed to a charitable trust which has developed the mill into a significant tourist attraction.
The mill was built for traditional stone milling, with two water wheels, one for the flour mill and one for the mill grinding provender (animal feed). In 1885 John Caudwell replaced the mill stones with a roller milling system. Later the power system was changed. In 1887 the water wheel of the flour mill was replaced by a turbine, which itself was succeeded in 1914 by an 80 hp Francis turbine. In 1898 the wheel of the provender mill was replaced by a 50 hp Little Giant turbine, which now generates all the electricity needed for the site, and sells the surplus to the National Grid. Visitors who tour the mill come to appreciate how different roller milling is from traditional milling by stones. There is a shop which sells the various grades of flour produced at the mill as well as biscuits made from that flour, a craft centre and a blacksmith’s shop.