About us (cont.)

The industrial havoc of WW2 was overcome and the Mill was returning to full production when fire struck again significantly destroying the roof and structure of the building enforcing further closure for a month.

Norman Corlett took over the management of the company in 1949 upon the death of his brother Gilbert, by which time the company was producing a wide variety of flour along with an extensive range of animal foodstuffs. However the outlook was not too favourable and by the late ‘60s, profitability was becoming a worrying aspect of the business.

By 1973, the business was in danger of closing which would have put some 45 employees out of work. Isle of Man Government, recognizing the need to maintain a flour milling operation and to retain the employment, stepped in to purchase the company and a deal was completed in 1974. Shortly afterwards, Government returned the company into a private operation which reported on a regular basis to the Treasury and to the Department of Industry, but the losses continued and the logic of Government ownership and the continual requests for funding was regularly questioned in the Island’s legislature.

Henry Robinson had proved to be adept in his ability to operate companies with agricultural associations and in 1988, Government asked him to take over the management of the Mill with a brief to bring the operation into profit at the earliest opportunity. His first actions were to close the animal feed production, reduce staff mainly through natural wastage and to introduce computerization to the milling process. He also encouraged Isle of Man farmers to grow milling wheat so that the importation of UK-grown wheat could be eliminated.

By the early 1990s the Mill had moved into profit and since then has invariably been a contributor to the Island’s economy rather than the previous drain. Flour was being produced from wheat supplied only by Isle of Man farmers which ensured the provenance of the raw material and provided a solid quality assurance for customers.

The turn of the century has seen an expansion of the Mill’s flour production with new products added regularly. The product range now extends to around 15 varieties with research into new products continuing apace resulting in the vast majority of Isle of Man-baked bread and bread products being produced using Laxey flour.

The flour range has the added advantage of being 100% free of any additives and all Isle of Man growers of wheat have become Farm Assured thus ensuring the purity and excellent quality of Laxey Flour. UK bakers are becoming more and more aware of the quality and provenance aspect of the flour and, with the availability of regular delivery schedules, are turning to its use as a logical economic alternative to organic brands.

Quite a history then . . . and the events of 150 years culminating in a modern, effective and progressive example of the age-old basic requirement of flour production.