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Two Counties Mill Eaton Bray

Two Counties Mill on the 1925 Rating Valuation Map [DV2/C32]
Two Counties Mill shown on the 1925 Rating Valuation Map [DV2/C32]

Two Counties Mill no longer survives. Historically it was in Eaton Bray for most of recorded history but the boundary changed at the end of the 20th century to follow the line of the old mill stream, just north of Moor End Mill, and so the site of the mill is now in Edlesborough and so in Buckinghamshire.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Eaton Bray, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Two Counties Mill [DV1/C203/82-87] found it owned and occupied by A. Thorne. He noted: “Saw Mr. Moore (son-in-law) – Do not make flour – A grist mill – and separate self raising flour department with flour bought from outside. Only 3 stones – one always out – 2 in action always. Power – National Gas Engine. Own electric light – three electric motors driven 2 of ½ h. p. 1 of 5½ h. p. All mill is in Bedfordshire except garden of Mr. Thorne’s house and weather-boarded and corrugated iron self raising flour department. Average output 125 sacks a week (280 lbs each)”.

The three pairs of stones each had a diameter of four feet. The sack capacity of each pair per hour was four hundredweight meaning the mill ground eight hundredweight an hour as only two pairs of stones were operational. The working week was forty eight hours. Two pairs of stones operated for nine months of the year, the remaining three months having just one pair operational. The valuer calculated output at 873 tons of self raising flour per year. There was a kibbling machine with twelve inch rollers for dealing with chaff and this turned out 133 tons per annum as it only ran two days a week “or less”. An oat crusher had eighteen inch rollers and its output was 138 tons per annum as it, too, only ran two days per week.

The buildings were arranged in six groups as follows (B-E are annotated on the accompanying map shown at the top of this page):

  • A: a petrol pump for private use; a brick and corrugated iron garage for a lorry, partly used as a store; a brick and corrugated iron garage for two cars; a further two car garage used as a store; two weather-boarded and corrugated iron store sheds behind; a corrugated iron store shed and a brick, weather-boarded and corrugated iron store shed partly used as an oil store;
  • B: a brick and corrugated iron coal store; a large corrugated iron lean-to store shed; an old brick and slate stables used as a warehouse with another warehouse over;
  • C: a brick and corrugated iron garage for two Foden lorries; a further garage for one lorry;
  • D: the self-raising flour department with a brick and corrugated iron lean-to flour store measuring 14 feet by 28 feet; a large brick, weather-boarded and corrugated iron packing room with a machine belt fed by three hoppers; the first floor contained two mixing machines and “2 Simons centrifugals” with a flour loft over; there was also a corrugated iron lean-to shelter;
  • E: the brick and slate mill house (“good”). The first floor comprised a 35 horsepower National Gas engine and a small dynamo and storage batteries. The second floor contained the three pairs of stones and the third floor housed the oat crusher as well as a maize and bean crusher with twelve inch rollers, a disintegrator, brushes and a cleaner. The top storey had a cleaning machine, a grain elevator and conveyor to bins and “good storage”. Outside was a corrugated iron lean-to shelter measuring 20 feet by 60 feet.
  • F: adjoining the house was a general office measuring 27 feet by 10 feet and a private office measuring 13 feet by 20 feet with a warehouse over. There was also a corrugated iron “gangway to flour mixing shed”.

Final comments were: “Bad times and not working up to full” and “Long way from station”. The site was later an engineering works.