Dalkeith once held the title as the biggest grain market in Scotland. Catcune mill, near Gorebridge, produced barley, oatmeal, split pease and brosemeal.
Barley was shipped in from the Danube Basin, Canada and Australia to Leith. After milling the finished products went to Newcastle, Liverpool and Glasgow by rail, or by ship as far as South Africa.
Two of their flour brands were “King’s Own” flour produced by the Riverside Milling Co., Glasgow and one called “Cockpen” after the local place name.
This postcard shows the grain mills at Catcune.
The proprietor in 1881 was James Cumming of Dewar, and the mill was rented by the Pendriech family since the 1820s. They bought the mill, closing it around 1934.
It was reopened by A & W Douglas of Dalkeith, in 1937. Barley milling restarted in 1938. The machinery was powered by twin cylinder gas engines (300HP) and a water wheel (25HP), later refurbished in 1944. It went back to oatmeal production after 1948, finally closing in 1979.
Fire was a serious hazard. Newspaper reports in 1873 describe the destruction of the mill, which was staffed by three millers and a fireman at night. Again in 1941, the barley mill was damaged by fire.
Photo: Midlothian Council Local Studies/Scran
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