Part 2: The Kenward family – an unfortunate kettle of fish

roller mill 1

Taking over the mill from his father in 1874 Edwin took it upon himself to make improvements to the business by building a new roller mill on the northern bank of the River Uck, in 1894, and like Caleb before him added his own date stone to the newly built roller mill. A special edition of Pike’s News and Reviews, a Brighton publication, printed a full description of “this very handsome red brick building”, detailing all the improvements Edwin had made. Including the fact that “The building is of four-storey elevation, well lighted on all sides, and having double warehouse doors opening directly on to the railway.” Creating a lovely environment to work in, which we at Team4 absolutely love!

Despite this the original mill that Caleb used, and its water wheel, were still in good order and could be used to add extra power to the new one.

Edwin was a prominent and well respected businessman, having grown up with the business and mill, and was very popular, even serving on the Urban District Council from the beginning. He was keen on helping to encourage and push change and being connected to his community, a legacy which the current occupants of the Roller Mill (Taylor Peter Associates, Team 4 and any others) take very much to heart.

Unfortunately tragedy struck on April 12, 1905 when Edwin, at the age of 65, was found drowned in the Uck River. According to sources at the time Edwin was fond of fishing in the river but of late had been suffering from giddiness, all of which lead to his ill-fated accident.

After his death the mill was bought by Ebenezer Warburton (no relation to the famous Warburton’s but it does seem that Warburton’s have bread in their blood! There is also nothing to suggest that he didn’t like Christmas. Just goes to show you can’t judge people by their names). He too added an inscribed stone reading: ‘EW and S 1922’, the S standing for ‘Sons’.

After retiring his two sons, George and Herbert, ran the Uckfield and Hempstead mills. George was chairman of the Uckfield Parish Council and a country alderman for many years. But the time for old mills was coming to an end, first Hempstead mill closed and then Uckfield when George retired in 1950. This is how Team4 are able to sit and work at their desks without being either covered in flour or deafened by millers and grinding stones.

Lessons learned for Team4 from this brief history include respecting the river, which we love and love having it visible from our office and that we’re much happier as bookkeepers than we’d be as millers or bread-makers. Do you have any interesting tales from the places you work or have worked? Let us know, whether you are local to Sussex or not as we’d be fascinated to hear them.

The photo of the Roller Mill is from www.courier.co.uk. For more information on the Mills history please check out http://www.courier.co.uk/Miller-s-untimely-death-left-village-mourning/story-28942518-detail/story.html

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