36 – Whitecroft Mill

The white building on the corner as the road takes a sharp left up Bream Road was once a corn mill. The mill dates from 1863 and was driven by water from the mill pond on the opposite side of the road controlled by a flood gate.

The water was used to drive a deafening turbine that powered two grinders, one of stone and one of steel. Up two flights of stairs they kept the grain bins full of corn or oats that fell through gravity to be ground below. The flour was then collected in sacks.

An old postcard of Whitecroft with the Mill, the Patent Feul Works and the Millpond.
An old postcard of Whitecroft showing the Millpond (front Left). When the sluice was opened, water flowed under the road to power the turbine in the Mill (front right). Left of the Mill are the shops and houses of The Bay – opposite them is a large wall. Behind The Bay, to the right are buildings of the Patent Fuel Works.

The mill was owned by various family businesses, and was described by R.C. Aldridge who was the mill owner’s son as a dark and forbidding place lit by candles or hurricane lamps. It could be dangerous too, and in 1915 the miller Hubert Morse was tragically caught and killed in the machinery.

A photo of Whitecroft Mill
The scene above 100 years later: Whitecroft Mill – far right and The Bay, beyond. The millpond was located behind the noticeboard. The dark wooden building in the foreground is Whitecroft’s long standing fish and chip shop.