London’s Albion Mills Was “Likely” Destroyed By Millers’ Arson

(p. 187) The Albion Mills, as it would be called, was built on a scale hitherto unimagined. The largest flour mill in London in 1783 used The Albion Mills, as it would be called, was built on a scale hitherto unimagined. The largest flour mill in London in 1783 used four pairs of grinding stones; Albion was to have thirty, driven by three steam engines, each with a 34-inch cylinder. Within months after its completion, in 1786, those engines were driving mills that produced six thousand bushels of flour every week–which both fed a lot of Londoners and angered a lot of millers.

The Albion Mills was London’s first factory, and its first great symbol of industrialization; its construction inaugurated not only great age of steam-driven factories, but also the doomed though poignant resistance to them. That resistance took the shape of direct action–no one knows how the fire that destroyed the Albion Mills in 1791 began, but arson by millers threatened by its success seems likely– . . .

Source:
Rosen, William. The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention. New York: Random House, 2010.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

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