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I expect Loisand has it all recorded in detail, but building in grosvenor st west seems to appear between 1878 and 1880 , beiing run by the New Union mill company as a flour mill till 1899. In 1900 it was occupied by the Central city flour mills(it could have just been a change in name) and it changed to Brown Walter & sons shortly afterwards. the firm disappeared between 1921 and 1932, and nothing is listed there in the 1932 directory.
In today's Birmingham Mail 13/8/2011 Carl Chinn has written a 2 page spread with photos of this area, and the history of The Union Mill which was founded due to bread shortages and high prices which the poor could not afford in the 1790s,
Presumably this thread was started about the Union Mills - sadly the images are no longer available. But here’s some points from the newspaper archives about the Old and New Union Mills.
1796 Union Flour Mill, run by Joint Stock Company, destroyed by fire in 1889 - address was Holt Street.
1827 shares offered in the New and Old Union Mills.
1835 New and Old Union Mill for sale. Old and new mills still existed in 1868 (shareholders meeting report). Old Union Mill still existed in 1877 (shareholders meeting in Holt Street).
1889 - fire at Old Union Mill - site bounded by Holt Street, Heneage Street, Prospect Row and a branch of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Mill described as having four storeys.
According to this link some development is/was planned for the site. Hopefully some remains of the Mill are still there.
Thanks Mike. Good to see some of it remains. Been trying to work out exactly what was the ‘Old’ and what was the ‘New’ Union mill as they both existed at the same time. The Old Union had a fire, so maybe it was only the ‘New’ Union that survived. The Wikimedia photo shows the building as low level, whereas the Old Union had four storeys. Viv.
Thanks Mike. Interesting it’s marked as the ‘New’ mill c1824. No mention of the Old Mill, although we know the Old Mill, was still there until 1889. Maybe the ‘New’ on the c1824 map was to show they’d introduced steam power ? But the ‘Old’ mill still existed. Viv.
Still mulling over what’s the ‘new’ Union and what’s the ‘old’ Union with regards to the mill buildings seen today. So have re-read the link in post #8. By the time of the c1824 map the ‘New’ Union was 11 years old. So it clearly distinguished it from the ‘old’.
The archaeology data service link correctly labels the existing building(s) as the ‘New’ Union Mill, while the developers refer to the building(s) as the ‘Old’ Union Mill. Probably used the old title to give it extra heritage appeal and they refer to the site generally as the Old Union Mill.
After a bit of research, here’s my summary of the two mills.
Old Union Mill
The Birmingham Flour and Bread Company (BFBC) was also known as Union Mills Company. They built this first British steam cooperative mill in 1796/7. It was a three storey mill, 60ft by 30ft with an adjoining bakehouse. It was designed by Boulton and Watt - they also supplied a 16hp engine.
According to the accounts for 1797 the premises consisted of the mill, bakehouse, warehouse, pig sties, cart-house, engine house and dwelling house.
The Mill had four pairs of stones. It operated 20 hours per day and could supply between 18% and 24% of Birmingham’s population at the time.
Shareholders were drawn from the ‘poorer’ classes, not wealthy businessmen with philanthropic ideas. These shareholders were required to take a given amount of bread or flour per week; half a peck of flour or bread per week per share. BFBC wasn’t set up to make profit, but it was so successful that benefits took the form of reduced prices of bread and flour.
New Union Mill
The New Union Mill was built by BFBC in 1813 and was arranged around three sides of a rear courtyard. Only the SE frontage with archway remains today ie 17-23 Grosvenor St West 40mtr frontage. The new mill remained in operation until 1927. Subsequently the mill itself, the NW range and a large part of the SW range were demolished. The remaining building has been vacant for over 15 years. Much of the interior has been changed over time, but the original staircase will be retained.
This building on Grosvenor Street West is frequently referred to today as The Old Union Mill.