Urban Exploration - Tawton Mill
History of Tawton Mill
The mill was brought by Hosken Trevithick & Polkinghorne, trading as Farm industries, for use as a store and wool grading centre. 1939-1951. The new shed was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works, and was a major centre for storing Government wool. 1948. The North Devon water Board abstracted water from the leat. Two pumps were built to extract water and the mains water was augmented by the factory supply. 1950. Ambrosia of Lapford rented a building on the site, for the storage of milk and rice, where ten women were employed sorting the grain. 1957. The North Devon Water Board leased the yard and a shed for storage at £25 per annum.
1964. The British Wool Marketing Board took over the premises, and it became an important wool grading centre. Wool buyers came from all over the country to view the board’s samples. The Wool Board made their own electricity until 1991 and sold surplus to the Electricity Board. 1992. Wool stores were closed at Buckfastleigh, Launceston and North Tawton and the business was concentrated in South Molton. Two of the remaining employees were transferred there. A sad end to what was once a great enterprise.
In the Okehampton Times of 17 December 1992 it was reported that: West Devon Council issued a development brief for the wool factory, which, it is suggested, could be put to leisure use, e.g. a public sports hall, the mill leat could be developed for water sports, and buildings converted to a restaurant and/or museum connected with the former wool industry. In 1994 the premises were bought by a local land owner, and have remained empty ever since.