OVER 150 YEARS OF HISTORY -
THE JORDANS FAMILY HISTORY STARTS HERE >>>
At Holme with the Jordans
This is the fascinating story about the people and the events behind the last working flour mill in Bedfordshire; a story of innovation and survival as Holme Mills continues to keep our food heritage alive to this day.
Our family has had a connection with the Mill at Holme, a hamlet in Bedfordshire tucked away on the River lvel, for over 150 years. As the Sixth William Jordan to have had a hand in its running, we thought it was about time that our family history and the mill story were captured.
The Williams below me did an excellent job of being enterprising and adapting with the times. keeping the mill operational through good times and bad. My generation moved the family firm away from milling flour to create our own range of breakfast cereals and cereal bars. However, it seemed a fitting tribute to keep one of the last working roller mills in the country. A fine example of Victorian technology preserved for future generations to see.
The Jordans family celebrate 150 years (Christmas 2005)
In April 2013, The Jordans Trust, a charitable trust founded to renovate the mill, opened Jordans Mill, a brand new visitor centre and cafe on the banks of the River lvel. Alongside the original Mill
building. The Mill can now be seen again in all its working glory through special guided tours. Later in the year the Mill Garden was opened to the public to demonstrate Biggleswade‘s rich heritage of
market gardening as well as seed and cereal production.
Many thanks to our visitors for their valuable contribution that make this all possible. All profits are reinvested in the Site.
1855 The start of milling for the Jordan Family - William (2nd) buys Eaton Ford Mill
1861 William (2nd) purchases both the Golden Ball Inn and Tythe Farm (over 300 Acres in St Neots
1865 William (1st) dies in a carting accident on Wilden Hill in Bedford
1874 A fatal Accident leads to the closure of the canal, after a bridge collapses near Holme Mills sending a heavy steam engine over the edge and into pike pond, killing the driver. The Ivel Navigation is sued and the canal is closed in 1876
1883 William (3rd) moves to Holme Mills with his young family to take over the lease of Holme Mills, and went on to purchase it in 1893 with his brother Alfred
1899 Holme Mills encounters a second fire. The waterwheel is replaced by a state of the art turbine, and a new Carter Roller System was designed and installed by Turners of Ipswich
1914-1918 (WW1) William (4th) already a member of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry, goes to fight the war in France with many of his friends
1938 The Allen Deisel Engine’ is installed. This started the mill more safely and was more reliable than its predecessor, the Tangye Gas Engine - which was flammable and dangerous
1942 William (5th) joins the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) delivering new planes to the RAF during WWII
1950 The first Jordans branding appears in the form of adverts and shelf talkers
1955 Celebrating the Centenary of Jordans Flour in style... A lawn party and a day on the River Thames
1960 The first automated flour packing machine is installed
1970 Bill (W6) and brother David join forces to start a new company. They start producing puffed wheat, then toasted oat cereals, which are sold initially in health food stores
1980 Original Crunchy breakfast cereal is selling 80 tons per week
1991 Introducing a lighter, easier-to-eat granola, with additional benefits of real freeze-dried fruit
1997 Jordans are distributing to over 40 countries (awarded two Queens Awards for Export Acheivement by 2004)
2000 A new state-of-the-art factory is opened to manufacture breakfast cereals - producing nearly one million packs of cereal per week!
2013 Jordans Mill opens to visitors in April. In October the Mill Gardens open, designed by Chelsea Flower Show winners Ian Kitson and Julie Toll.
1851 Canals and railways are rapidly changing the face of transportation, allowing goods to travel further and faster than ever before. Biggleswade is the first town in Bedfordshire to have a mainline station which provided a new means of transport for grain and people
1852 Dan Albone is born in Biggleswade, inventor of the first 'safety' cycle. He also invented, designed and manufactured the first successful light farm tractor in 1902. In the same year he formed Ivel Agricultural Motors
1869 George Powers becomes miller at Holme Mills
1871 William (3rd) takes his apprenticeship at Albion Mill, Kings Cross. This was owned by the Powers family who also owned Holme Mills
1886 Dan Albone forms the Ivel Cycle Company in Biggleswade
1894 Holme Mills suffers fire damage. The mill is rebuilt and some of the traditional millstones are replaced with a roller system
1909 William (4th) buys Sandy Mill, which he turns into a feed mill. He makes rations for pigs, poultry and horses as well as selling hay, straw and chaff
1914-1918 Women run the Mill during the First World War. Known as the 'Flour Girls' they had to lift 240lb bags of flour
1920 With the war over, the 20's is a time to enjoy the simpler things in life... like a cool dip in the River Ivel
1938 84 year old William (3rd) is fined £1 for 'nipping' round the wrong side of a 'keep left' sign in his hurry to catch a train.
He drove his first car at two to three miles per hour with one of his employees walking in front with a red flag
1949 William (5th) buys the assets of the business from his grandfather's estate
1949 A Notice letter is sent to all employees informing them of change of ownership of W. Jordan & Son
1959 William (5th) changes the roof line at Holme Mills to a flat roof in order to install augers. This meant that grain could be transported to the top floor by machine. (Watercolour painted Noller in the 1960's)
1960 Flour bags designed by William (5th) and William (6th)(right).
1973 The original 'Crunchy G' is born-and so is the ‘Wholefood Revelution’
1985 Conservation Grade is conceived, helping farmers to support the environment and its wild inhabitants
1994 A successor to the Crunchy Bar, the Frusili Bar is a lower calorie, softer textured alternative
2005 The Mill is closed for production and in 2009 Bill and David set up the Jordan Trust in order to preserve the old mill and its surroundings
THE JORDAN FAMILY
FOLLOW THE STORY OF THE FAMILY, THE SITE AND THE HISTORIC MILL.
PICK UP YOUR FULL SOUVENIER GUIDE WHEN YOU VISIT JORDANS MILL available from the Mill shop.