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Former Roller Mill

C R Smith and H W Girling - trading as 'Smith & Girling', have commissioned this impressive factory building which was constructed by Wangford builder, Mr Chilver, equipped by Whitmore & Binyon of Wickham Market and is opened on the first of January this year by the Countess of Stradbroke. The mill is a modern steam-powered roller mill, the first such in the town. Southwold's three wind-powered mills have by now all been demolished or have burned down. Its products include, in addition to flour, malts, hops, pollards (animal feed), linseed cake and manure. Smith & Girling have other branches in Wangford, Walberswick and Halesworth and have their own cargo boats to carry coal for their own steam boilers and for sale. A pioneer of 'health and safety' in an industry traditionally vulnerable to fire, Smith & Girling have divided their mill into three sealable compartments, linked by fireproof iron doors. To read a contemporary description of the facility in the 1903 publication 'Southwold & Neighbourhood', click here.

C R Smith and H W Girling - trading as 'Smith & Girling' - Roller Mill


H W Girling dies this year and the business closes in 1918.

The premises are taken over by ...

F L Pallant -
Managing Director of Fordux Manufacturing Co, wholesale bedding manufacturers.

According to the unpublished memoirs of Cyril Steley, the name 'Fordux' is a back-to-front version of 'Duxford', the new Cambridgeshire RAF base where Mr F L Pallant has recently been stationed.


F L Pallant - Fordux Manufacturing Co - Wholesale Bedding anufacturers (K1924)

The company goes into voluntary liquidation this year (London Gazette 7/12/1928) but, in February 1929, is reborn as a Limited Company - Fordux Mills Limited. The East Anglian newspaper reports this as a restructuring to enable expansion. An extension to the factory has been built to make mattress filling material, flock - only the second such plant in the country. The new factory will, it is reported, employ about 50 people.

"The factory, a fireproof building, is of steel and asbestos construction, and embraces the most modern requirements for the health and well-being of employees. Machinery of the latest type is installed to produce materials of the very highest standard of purity. Mitive power is supplied by Messrs Crossley Bros of Manchester, by one of their new model, high-powered oil engines..." East Anglian.


Fordux Mills - Bedding and Flock manufacturers. (K1933, K1937)

Fordux Mills - Bedding and Flock manufacturers.
According to the London Gazette of 9/9/1947, the company once more goes into voluntary liquidation, but is reborn as Fordux Mills (1947) Ltd


Fordux Mills (1947) Ltd - Bedding Manufacturers (CSP1953).
During the 1950s Fordux is acquired by Slumberland Ltd, one of its principal clients. (Date required)

Slumberland Ltd - Bedding Manufacturer


Slumberland Ltd - The factory closes and the building is converted into flats known as 'St Edmund's Court'






Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.

Roller Mill Building today

Roller Mill in the 1890s

The mill and the adjacent inn, 'The Marquis of Lorne' in the 1890s (Southwold Museum P273)

Click the pictures to enlarge

Smith & Girling Mill 1903

The S&G Mill in 1902 as featured in the publication 'Southwold & Neighbourhood'
The cottage seen on the left (No 10) was demolished in 2012

Click the picture to enlarge

The mill in 1903 (Southwold Museum P1041.1)

The group posing with carts is thought to include proprietors, CR Smith and HW Girling with Henry Moss (centre) the owner of the drapery and grocery business at 25 Market Place.

Click the picture to see an enlargement and

A Smith & Girling invoice dated 1899.
From a collection of bill heads in the Southwold Museum archive

Smith & Girling advertisement

Fordux carnival float 1937

The Fordux entry in the carnival celebrating the The1937 Coronation of George V1.
The tableau features a ramshackle old bedstead with a sagging mattress on the left and a plump Fordux mattress on the right. To the rear are some employees dressed, of course, as 'four ducks' and, for good measure, they are carrying a cage containing - yes - four real ducks. (You had to be there!)
With thanks to Margaret Palmer for loaning us this postcard from the collection of her late son, Robert.

Click picture to enlarge

Interior of the Fordux flock mill in 1947.
Rags being processed into flock for stuffing mattresses.
Picture courtesy of Frank Upcraft
Click image to enlarge

Fordux advert

Early 1950s advertisement for Fordux Ltd.

Click image to enlarge