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VIDEO: Historic mill will open to the public

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An historic mill is to be opened for the public to enjoy.

Jordans Mill in Biggleswade dates back to 1896 and is being restored so visitors can learn about the town’s history and heritage as a focal point of milling.

Trustee Bill Jordan - who founded Jordans Cereals with his brother David in the early 1970s - is keen to spread the word about how important Bedfordshire was in providing food to other parts of the country.

Speaking as work progresses at the Jordans Mill Centre - which is due to open in time for Easter - cereal baron Bill said he looking forward to telling the story about the mill’s origins.

He said: “Milling used to be a major industry in Bedfordshire and there were around 400 mills around the county.

“One of these was run by the Jordan family of course and was still in use until relatively recently.”

The Jordans were originally farmers but later took over the mill, which in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was quite ahead of its time.

Bill added: “It is a roller mill rather than the stone ones which were used at the time.”

“This means that production could be a lot faster, smoother and more sophisticated.”

Taking a tour of the mill today, the machinery is still very impressive to see.

Over the mill’s four floors the machines would gradually separate the grain and process it so it would eventually end up as flour at the other end.

The mill was powered by turbines which were connected to the River Ivel.

Grain sacks of more than 200lb in weight would be brought to the mill and lifted to the top using a series of pulleys.

Information boards and audio visual displays are being added around the site so the history and processes can be better explained to visitors, and all four floors will be available to see.

Bill and his team also hope that education can be a main part of the Jordans experience.

He said: “As well as general visitors we are also hoping that we can welcome school groups to the site.

“There is quite a lot to learn and we can demonstrate how the milling process worked.”

The different floors can also be seen through glass which lies at one end of the mill, with flights of stairs taking visitors up through the building.

The mill is just one part of the Jordans site though.

Situated just yards from the historic building is a more modern one, housing a cafe and a series of conference rooms and suites.

This also has excellent views of the River Ivel and the gardens on the other side which are also currently being developed.

Bill said: “The cafe will serve healthy and locally sourced food which will all be made to order.

“The site itself is quiet and peaceful and the views of the river and countryside are also something to behold.”

Companies and other organisations can hire the conference rooms on the first floor, while downstairs there will also be cookery workshops.

Bill added: “The workshops will be particularly suitable for school groups, and we can, for example demonstrate how bread is made.

“The youngsters can have a go themselves and we have an area specifically designed for them to do so.”

The Jordans Trust is currently looking for volunteers to help at the centre, while there will also be job opportunities there.

For more information see www.jordansmill.com

 

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