The Hedges Family – Over 150 years in Flour Milling
Thomas Horn Hedges (c.1850 – 1919) was described in his will as a farmer and miller and elsewhere as a master butcher. The farm was at Hampton Poyle, The Mill at Cassington. He was responsible for building the 1888 extension to the mill building to accommodate the flourmill.
There were 4 pairs of stones driven from a line shaft linked directly to a water turbine. The mill was the last built on the river Evenlode before it joins the Thames.
Thomas Andrew Hedges (1896 – 1992) first went to the mill in 1912. He fought in France during the Great War and returned to run the business until his father’s estate was wound up, purchasing the mill and property at the end of 1928. The mill capacity at the time was very small and he sent out to improve the plant adding capacity in 1935.
WW 2 was around the corner and this bought the demise of the plant. It never restarted after the war.
It is thought that the depression years prior to the war made financial investment difficult.
Thomas Julian Albert Hedges decided to follow his fathers footsteps, and went to college in London to study flour milling and with the view to assisting his father in Cassington. Unfortunately by the time his studies were complete, the mill had stopped operating (Finisgristin) and Julian obtained a job with Clarkes of Wantage in what was at the time Berkshire (now Oxon). He progressed with Clarkes until an opportunity arose within Tanganika Milling Co, in Arusha, East Africa where he decided to further his career. His career progressed with the political climate of the time, and ultimately to his Technical Directorship for Unga Milling based in Nairobi, Kenya where he remained until his retirement and return to the UK in 1994. Julian had three sons, Simon, Richard and Peter.
All three sons followed the attraction of flour milling, with Simon initially moving to South Africa and working and receiving most of his training career there, before returning to the UK and joining Shipton Mill Ltd. Whilst continuing to support the growth of Shipton Mill, he now operates Simon Milling & Baking and being agent for Italpack Srl continues to support the UK flour Millers with projects of various dimensions.
Richard and Peter’s formative years in flour milling was with Allied Mills where they progressed from Flour Millers to key Operational Managers within the UK. The latter part of their careers has progressed with Richard now Technical Director for the Malaysian Grain Trader Olam and based in West Africa and responsible for the development of multiple flour mills globally. Peter chose to operate his own company and has been successfully operating Worldbake Ltd for many years providing Flour Milling strategic and operational advice to the UK Flour Milling Industry, as well as distributing par baked breads to customers in the UK.