(old location map)
The original newspaper clippings were collected at the time by a local Monikie resident, M.I., and are believed to be only from the three publications mentioned above. The known dates of these are shown alongside.
However, this list is not comprehensive and the piece below may con-join text into one, and ignore similar ones.
Any researcher would be advised to seek the original newspapers at the Dundee Wellgate Library, Local History Department.
1920 MAR 12 1920 APR 12 1920 JUL 16 1920 OCT 23 1920 NOV 19 1920 NOV 27 1920 DEC 13 1920 DEC 14 1921 JAN 08 1921 JAN 28 1921 FEB 04 1921 FEB 04 1921 FEB 22 1921 FEB 23 1921 MAR 28 1921 APR 09 1921 APR 12 1921 APR 14 1921 OCT 15 1921 OCT 26 1921 NOV 26 1921 DEC 17 1921 DEC 24 1922 FEB 13 1922 FEB 14 1922 FEB 22 1922 SEP 06 1922 SEP 20 1996 JUL 27
|The Webmaster was originally told that Erhaart Kornelis Munneke from The Netherlands, manager of the Farina Mill, was born on 6th April 1885, but read on . . .
Kornelis Munneke, the former manager of the Farina-Mill was not born on the 2nd of April, but on the 2nd of February 1885 in Annerveenschekanaal in the Netherlands.http://mijnstamboom.net/getperson.php?personID=I2522&tree=stamboom
Source: FHL Film 0203496 GRO Ref Volume 311 EnumDist 2 1881 Census Place: Monikie, Angus, Scotland Dwelling: Affleck Feus Marr Age Sex Birthplace Dwelling: Affleck Feus Marr Age Sex Birthplace David COUPAR W 70 M Lundie, Angus, Scotland Rel: Head Occ: Fireman Seed Crushing Works At Oil Mill ========================================================================================= 1881 Census Place: Monikie, Angus, Scotland Dwelling: Affleck Feus Marr Age Sex Birthplace Cornelius GRANT M 20 M Glasgow, Scotland Rel: Head Occ: Prer At Seed Oil Crushing Works ==========================================================================================
1881 Census Place: Monikie, Angus, Scotland Dwelling: Affleck Feus Marr Age Sex Birthplace William WALKER M 46 M Dunipace, Stirlingshire, Scotland Rel: Head Occ: Manager At Seed Oil Crushing Works Janet WALKER M 43 F Blackburn, Linlithgow, Scotland Rel: Wife Occ: Manager's Wife John WALKER U 15 M Glasgow, Scotland Rel: Son Occ: Message Boy At Seed Oil Crushing Works Jessie WALKER 11 F Glasgow, Scotland Rel: Dau Occ: Scholar Elizabeth WALKER 6 F Glasgow, Scotland Rel: Dau Occ: Scholar Andrew WALKER 4 M Monikie, Angus, Scotland Rel: Son
TOADYING TO THE FARMERS. FOOD COMMITTEE AND PRICE OF POTATOES. The belated action of the Ministry of Food in fixing a controlled price for potatoes was discussed at a Dundee Food Committee meeting held yesterday. The Executive Officer (Mr. Latto) said that in December last the Committee had petitioned the Divisional Food Commissioner regarding the necessity of fixing a controlled price for potatoes. The reply received was to the effect that a controlled price would have to be £11, and that the opinion was held that, decontrolled, the price per ton would not rise above this. The price now fixed was £12-15s, rising fortnightly by 5s. Bailie Macdonald, Chairman, described the price as absolutely scandalous. Farmers had been taken into consultation, and he thought that somebody other than farmers should have been consulted when the prices were fixed. Bailie Allan said that the farmers were all interested on one side. In reply to Bailie Kinmond, the Chairman said that the pre-war price of potatoes was £3 to £4 per ton. The farmers were having everything their own way. Hay at the present time was up to £19 per ton. Mr. Wm. Nicoll said that the Government had been toadying to the farmers too long. Bailie Allan remarked that the farmers were now cutting down their supply of wheat. Mr. G. A. Johnston said they were growing barley, as they got a bigger price for it. POTATO PLANTING PROBLEMS. Farmers Should Concentrate on Immune Varieties. SOIL CONDITIONS A STRONG FACTOR. From Our Agricultural Correspondent. The potato-planting season proper is close upon us now. The selection of the varieties to be put in is a matter requiring a good deal of consideration, and it involves factors, which certain growers are still a little prone to overlook. One important aspect of the situation this season is the question of whether only immune varieties should be planted. It is being made pretty clear that there is a strong feeling in official quarters that the potato crop in this country is of such vital importance to the national well-being that, we can no longer afford to run the risk of losing a large portion of it through the ravages of wart or other diseases. It was a prior realisation of this fact, which inspired the pioneers of potato improvement towards the production of disease-resisting varieties. These fortunately are very numerous today, and a considerable proportion of them are also immense croppers and of good culinary qualities. The far-seeing farmer will certainly be consulting his own interests if he plants a fairly big part of his potato break with immune varieties. Ability to meet the seed trade counts for a good deal in profits on the crop, and it is unnecessary to labour the inadvisability of having the bulk of one’s tubers saleable for culinary or feeding purposes only.
75 Immune Varieties. For the guidance of those who may not yet have completed seed purchases, the following list of varieties tested by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and approved as immune from wart disease, will be found invaluable:- Al., Abundance, Adirondack, America, Arran Comrade, Arran Rose, Arran Victory, Bishop, Bloomfield, Border Queen, Burnhouse Beauty, Carnegie, Champion, Clan Alpine, Climax, Conquest, Coronation, Crimson Beauty, Crown Jewel, Culdees Castle, Dargill Early, Dominion, Edzell Blue, Favourite, Flourball, Golden Wonder, Great Scot, Heather Bountiful, Irish Chieftain, Irish Queen, Irish Strain, Jeanie Deans, Kerr’s New White, Kerr’s Pink, King Albert, King George, King of the Russets, Laing’s Prolific, Langworthy, Leinster Wonder, Mauve Queen, Majestic, Mr. Brisse, Nithsdale, Osborne Seedling, Priory Queen, Rector, Resistant Snowdrop, Rob Roy, Roderick Dhu, Schoolmaster, Secundus, Shamrock, Sir Douglas Haig, Snowball, Snowdrop, Southampton Wonder, St. Melo Kidney, Templar, The Admiral, The Ally, The Crofter, The Dean, The Duchess, The Laird, The Locher, The Provost, The Towse, Tillycorthy, Tinwald Perfection, Twentieth Century, Waverley, What’s Wanted, White City, Witch Hill.
It will not be a bad plan, in introducing new varieties, to plant a small quantity of several sorts rather than a bigger quantity of one, for the results are pretty sure to be largely affected by the constitution of the soil on the individual farm, and a variety which is a great success on one kind of land may do very poorly on another.
Northern Star and Victoria. The experience of Northern Star is a case in point. In most parts of this country the Star enjoyed but a brief popularity, but an ex-New Zealand agriculturist tells me that no potato can compete in popularity with the Northern Star in that colony. When potato disease carried off the great bulk of the New Zealand crop, the Star, though not immune from wart disease, flourished luxuriantly as ever. Certain East of Fife farmers still vie with the New Zealanders in their loyalty to this variety, and the flesh characteristics, which many object to in it appear to be greatly modified by the soil conditions of the "East Neuk." A veteran market buyer tells me that he is not surprised by this fact. Paterson’s famous Victoria, he declares, was "waxy" in character on most soils, but on the coast of Fife it lost this characteristic in large degree. These experiences show that one must be largely guided by personal experience as to the varieties best suited to the particular class of soil. It is highly desirable, too, that growers should see for themselves before purchase the seed being offered them. At the National Potato Exhibition in Edinburgh last autumn there was at least one class in one’s fingers scarcely sufficed to count what certainly appeared to be widely differing stocks staged as one particular variety.
SLUMP IN POTATO PRICES. There was a sensational slump at Ormskirk (Lancashire) potato market yesterday. When potato prices dropped from £25 per ton to £11. This was due to increased supplies and the greatly improved yields as the result of inclement conditions. MONIKIE FARINA MILL - QUESTIONS RAISED IN THE COMMONS. Mr. William Shaw asked the Food Controller in the House of Commons yesterday if the Government had any financial interest in the British Farina Mills, Ltd., which owns the farina mill at Monikie, Forfarshire; if so, would he state the actual amount of public money invested its this concern; and will he say if any contract or contracts had been made with potato-growers to ensure a supply of raw material for the mill at Monikie? Sir William Mitchell Thomson - "The relations between the Government departments concerned and the British Farina Mills, Ltd., are at present the subject of arbitration, and I cannot at this stage make any statement on the matter."
Government Investments. OVER £18,000,000 PUT INTO PUBLIC COMPANIES. A Parliamentary paper issued yesterday evening gives a return showing the public money invested in Registered Companies by His Majesty’s Government, the names of the Companies, the amounts invested in each Company, and the dates when the different investments were made. The total sum invested is £18,018,865 19s 8d, made up as follows: - By the Ministry of Food - British Farina Mills, Ltd., £325,000.
THE BEST CROPPING POTATOES. Interesting Results of Forfarshire Trials. NEW "DATE" VARIETY GIVES GREAT YIELD. From Our Agricultural Correspondent. An interesting experiment as to the rival merits of the more popular varieties of potatoes in general field culture has this year been carried out by Messrs Thyne & Son at their Downfield nurseries. In all 29 varieties were tested, and a party of those specially interested in potato growing was invited to witness the lifting and weighing out of the crops. The site chosen for the experiment was a piece of heavy loam, which had been further enriched by an application of litter manure. In previous years it had been utilised for the growing of sweet peas, and the fact that leguminous crops are of themselves nitrogenous storehouses further added to the heavy proportion of nitrogen in the soil, with the result that haulm growth was remarkably strong. Generally speaking, the character of the crop when lifted reflected robust and healthy stock, and although there were traces of blight in some of the varieties these were few. From the manure in which they were grown there was every inducement in a season such as this has been to produce a heavy proportion of ware tubers, and of the main crops only Tinwald Perfection might be adversely criticised for the large number of seed tubers produced, despite the space, allowed between drills and plants. Each drill measured approximately seven yards, and ten sets of each variety were planted.
The Sort to Grow The honour of giving the heaviest yield from one plant lay with Kerr’s Pink, which produced almost a stone to a single “shaw,” but in respect of total yield it was displaced by Glamis Beauty, an Up-to-Date variety, pretty popular on the English market this year, which has obviously immense cropping powers, and produced very regular ware tubers in the trials. Lochar and Arran Victory were also especially notable in respect of crop, but the latter had the advantage of being planted at one end of the experimental plot. The fact that Majestic, not naturally a strong haulmed variety, was sandwiched between two such robust growers as Lochar and Kerr’s Pink, and had therefore to expend excessive energy in seeking light and air, probably accounted for its somewhat disappointing yield, since I have heard instances of almost phenomenal crops from this variety in field cultivation this season. The biggest cropper of all was the old-established Edzell Blue, which, although classed as a first early, and so allowed, smaller space between the drills, beat Glamis Beauty by fully half a ton per acre, though the shallower eye and more regular conformation of the latter are factors of importance. Parkhill Beauty, a second early, raised at Parkhill, Arbroath, is of decidedly attractive appearance. Figures That Speak Details of the varieties tested, and the yield, expressed in weight per acre, are as follows - FIRST EARLIES (30 inches between drills.) Yield per Acre. VARIETY Tons. Cwts. Qrs. America 8 3 0 Sharps’s Express 16 6 0 Eclipse 24 5 0 Duke of York 17 1 0 Midlothian Early 18 10 2 Witch Hill 20 14 3 Arran Rose 14 1 2 Dargill Early 16 6 0 Western Hero 15 3 3 Edzell Blue 29 12 3 Epicure 15 11 1 SECOND EARLIES (36 inches between drills) King George 19 15 0 British Queen 22 16 3 Parkhill Beauty 17 5 3 Ally 21 12 1 Great Scot 19 2 3 Balmuir 23 9 1 Arran Comrade 17 5 3
MAINCROPS (36 inches between drills) Bishop 16 13 1 Kerr’s New White 19 2 3 Glamis Beauty 29 0 1 King Edward 19 2 3 Tinwald Perfection 19 15 0 Lochar 23 9 1 Majestic 15 6 3 Kerr’s Pink 26 11 0 Golden Wonder 9 5 1 Arran Chief 19 9 0 Arran Victory 23 9 1 OLDMELDRUM POTATO TRIALS Under the auspices of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture, Captain Manson of Kilblean, Oldmeldrum, has carried out potato trials. The land was a heavy loam at an altitude of 420 feet. They received a dressing of farmyard manure at the rate of 20 tons per acre, with 3½ cwts, of superphosphate. The following were the results:- Large Small Tons. Cwts Tons. Cwts Arran Comrade 16 7 1 2 Plum 15 0 0 7 Drumwhindle 13 3 0 7 Kerr’s Pink 12 18 0 13 Stephen 12 16 0 11 Majestic 12 15 0 8 Great Scot 12 12 0 16 Tinwald Perfection 12 7 0 7½ Osborne 11 16 0 8½ Scottish Standard 10 5 0 16 Arran Comrade had more ordinary potato disease than any of the other varieties. Scottish Standard, Great Scot, Osborne, Arran Comrade, Tinwald Perfection, and Kerr’s Pink were best for cooking. POTATOES. MONTROSE.- Ware in fair demand at from £5 to £5.5s per ton. Demand for seed falling off. Great Scot about £10, and King Edwards £12 per ton. PERTH. – Trade only fair at £5 to £5.5s for ordinary potatoes; varieties rather higher. A good many Danish potatoes are being imported to the East Coast at present and are helping to fill the markets and keep down prices. THE FARINA MILL AT MONIKIE. Discussion at Forfarshire Agricultural Meeting. Forfarshire Agricultural Executive Committee, at a meeting at Forfar today, again discussed the state of matters existing at the Farina Mill at Monikie, and Mr. K. E. McOnie, the secretary, submitted communications from the Board of Agriculture and the Fifeshire and Perthshire Agricultural Committees. The Perthshire Committee wrote that they recognised the possible value of the mill and would be glad to support the Forfarshire Committee in its appeal. The Fifeshire Committee, however wrote that they understood that negotiations with the Government were still in progress, and that if the scheme was indefinite the time was not ripe to move in the matter. The Board of Agriculture, in their letter, expressed regret that this was not a matter in which they could take action, as the mills belonged to the British Farina Mills, Ltd. Mr. J. Wilson, Pitairlie, said the works manager had been deluged with machinery, and had stated that the works would be ready in a week. Mr. F. M. Batchelor, Kellyfield, who presided, said there was a great lot of valuable stuff lying at the mill, and they could get any quantity of potatoes that were slightly diseased, which would make good farina. Mr. Wilson remarked that the Company had paid their parish rates already. It was ultimately decided to write to the Company to see whether they could take contracts for potatoes. The Committee also had before them a letter from the National Farmers’ Union (Forfar County Executive) suggesting the restarting of limekilns, but Mr. J. Kydd, Scryne, remarked that the whole thing was prehistoric, and it was resolved to take no further action in the matter. AGRICULTURISTS AND MONIKIE FARINA MILL. The question of the Farina Mill at Monikie producing farina from potatoes was again considered by Forfarshire Agricultural Executive Committee at a meeting in Forfar yesterday. Mr. F. M. Batchelor presided. Letters were read from the Perthshire and Fifeshire Committees and from the Board of Agriculture anent the matter. The Perthshire Committee said it would support the Committee in its appeal to get the works going in producing farina. The Fifeshire Committee did not consider that the time had yet come to move in the matter, and the Board of Agriculture regretted that they could take no action. The Chairman said that there was a lot of valuable stuff at the mill, and they could make good farina out of any quantity of potatoes, which were slightly diseased. The Committee agreed to communicate with the Company to see if they could take contracts for potatoes. Muddle Begets Muddle. The farina muddle is a legacy of the potato muddle, arising through the undertaking by the Government to take over and distribute the 1918 crop of potatoes. The scheme had been suggested prior to 1918, but the evidence shows that it was the desire to provide means of utilising surplus supplies of potatoes that carried weight with those responsible for the agreement. Bearing this in mind, what are the facts of the situation? They are clear and damning. Four mills were acquired, but only two were ever set agoing. Until December 1919 only one was in operation. Only potatoes to the value of £6567 of the 1918 crop were dealt with, while huge quantities, paid for by the Government, were allowed to go to waste in the pits. Each of three of the mills was equipped to deal with 1000 to 1500 tons of potatoes a week. Up till 30th September last the total value of the supplies dealt with was £39,100. The average price of farina before then was £20 a ton. The Government accepted the estimate of the promoters of the Company that they could produce at £40, as against about £90 being charged for Japanese supplies in 1917. The average cost of farina produced to 31st January 1920 was £128 16s 3d per ton. It was taken over at this price by the Ministry of Food, and the average selling price was £42 8s 4d per ton. Up to 31st January 1920 £45,500 had been received for farina by the Government, and the loss on production to that date was £112,000. Notwithstanding that some of the capital advanced by the Government had been repaid, the Company was allowed to charge on account of interest or sinking fund on the £300,000 which had been advanced. As against the capital of £325,000 advanced by the Government the public put in only £20,000. A Poor Prospect. It is of considerable interest to note that Mr. Coller told the Committee “that the provision of protection to stabilise the farina industry in this country was seriously contemplated in the Anti-Dumping Bill.” This statement drew from Mr. F. D. Acland, Chairman of the Committee, the observation, "There would have been very considerable protection on these figures." The public are obliged to Mr. Coller, too, for an indication of the future of this money-burning enterprise. “The proposal,” he says, "is to realise this security (the mills and equipment), but, quite frankly, I should not be prepared to value our security very highly." A MONIKIE WHITE ELEPHANT. Monument to Government Muddle and Extravagance. WHILE PREMIER TAKES CREDIT FOR ECONOMIES. While the Premier assures the electors of Dover of the Government’s anxiety to economise, and the superiority of our State in this connection compared with the remainder of the world, a correspondent draws attention to an excellent illustration of State muddling. This is the imposing farina mill at Monikie, which cost about £80,000, and from which not a pennyworth of farina has been extracted.. an interesting suggestion as to how this gigantic white elephant might yet be utilised is made by our correspondent. £80,000 MILL WHICH HAS NOT PRODUCED A PENNYWORTH. From a Special Correspondent. Monikie has the distinction of presenting to the public gaze an excellent illustration of Government ‘squandermania’. Just by the station stands an imposing brick building, equipped with up-to-date machinery for the manufacture of farina. It is estimated to have cost about £80,000 to erect. Not a pennyworth of farina has been extracted there. There appears today to be grave danger that there never will, and the building and equipment will be sold at scrapping price. This situation constitutes the fruits of one of the Government’s many wartime schemes for the revival of decayed home industries. During the war the British Farina Mills Ltd., undertook the provision of home supplies of the pure starch of the potato, which goes under the name of farina. The Government lent its financial aid to the extent, it is understood, of £250,000 for the erection and equipment of three mills – one at King’s Lynn, another at Boston, Lincolnshire, and the third at Monikie. The old oilcake mills beside the station were secured and utilised in so far as possible, supplemented by a large additional building. The equipment installed was the latest that the science of engineering could provide, and the concrete flooring alone must have cost a tremendous sum in view of the high price prevailing for this material. Even now it is barely completed, but a comparative small expenditure now would suffice to put it in working order.
The Growers’ Need Will it ever be completed? Will it ever be worked? Will the only salvage from the public money sunk in this mill be the scrap value it may bring? These are questions of vital interest to the general public, particularly of Central Scotland, and to the potato- -growers of that area. They become urgent by reason of the going into liquidation of the British Farina Mills Ltd., and the strong probability that the whole plant may now be scrapped. The primary value of the farina mill lies in the insurance it constitutes to the potato-grower against total loss of financial return from a portion of his crop in years when there is a huge yield, with a larger surplus of “brock” than he can otherwise utilise profitably or find a market for, or when there has been a widespread attack of blight, with many tubers unfit for table use, but quite suitable, so far as the sound portions are concerned, for the extraction of farina. The present year constitutes a good illustration of the situation. In the counties of Forfar, Fife and Perth this year there are huge supplies of potatoes, which could be utilised for the manufacture of farina. Despite the huge expenditure on the Monikie Mill, which is capable of dealing with 1000 to 1600 tons of potatoes weekly, it is not available for this purpose. Danger for Consumers. But there is also a vital public interest in the subject apart from the money already spent on the mill. Without the means of disposing of surplus potatoes, which the farina mill presents, the grower will naturally safeguard himself against loss by growing on the basis of an average crop. His acreage will be decreased. The cultivation of potatoes involves much more attention and labour than do most crops. The grower must have a reasonable prospect of a fair return for such attention and labour before he will extend it. If through failure to utilise this mill the potato acreage of Central Scotland is diminished, it will mean short supplies and high prices whenever there is a yield of tubers below the normal. From the standpoints of consumer and farmer alike, the situation is therefore of greatest interest. Much might he written as to the wisdom or otherwise of spending what has been spent on an industry whose inauguration involved such tremendous capital expenditure in. proportion to the probable profits on working. That would serve no purpose. The money is spent. The mill is there. How can the Government cut their losses with greatest benefit to the public where money has been spent?
A proposal has been set going in Central Scotland, which appears to offer the best way out. It is suggested that a Company should be formed by farmers and potato growers within a 50 mile radius of Monikie, who would benefit by the use of the mill, to acquire the premises and machinery at a figure, which, while it cannot possibly approach the heavy expenditure, which has been made upon it, will nevertheless be considerably over scrapping price. The scheme will certainly meet with warm support if the Government agrees to allow part of the initial expenditure to remain in the Company on debenture. So far as I can ascertain, the leading potato merchants and farmers are ready and willing to carry through the scheme on this basis. The Board of Agriculture for Scotland, too, appears to be favourable to the principle, but timorous of action in view of the economy campaign. But this is not new expenditure. It is the utilisation of money already expended to the best advantage of the public. By making the mill a workable proposition the Government will get something more than scrap value for the mill, the farmers will have insurance against loss in the event of an abnormally heavy potato crop, and the customers will have insurance against short supplies. It seems essentially a case in which something more sensible can be done with what is at present an extremely costly ”white elephant” than to follow Sir Harry Lauder’s famous advice to "wander it." THE MONIKIE FARINA MILL. Sir, -- What must strike one as curious about the farina mill business is just why this well- -appointed plant should be sold at all. Why can it not be worked? There seems to be material enough, and it goes without saying that there is no lack of labour. Will this work also share in the fate of similar ventures, which we know, such as the derelict wood distillation factory in the north end of the city? If it does so, it goes far to show an appalling want of interest on the part of the general public and a callous indifference on the part of the authorities concerned. It is a pity that all such undertakings could not have, besides the Government officials, a local Committee to see that the money expended had a reasonable return. It is a far cry from Monikie to London, and just as far back again, yet it is those on the spot who, in the main, can judge of the execution and worthiness of the scheme in hand. A city or district can be culpable in their apathy towards the nation’s affairs even as an individual where they are so placed that they have opportunities to gain knowledge, which is inaccessible, for the most part, to the general mass of the nation. This is a case in point. We sin against the national welfare if we allow this thing to be misused or destroyed. It is because of this I write, in this hope that some good may accrue. – I am, etc., F.M. BOARD OF AGRICULTURE - ECONOMY. Contrast in Policies. From Our Agricultural Correspondent. The campaign for economy on the part of the Government is, as usual, having an effect in quite the wrong direction, so far as agricultural affairs are concerned. It is, for example, being used by the Board of Agriculture as a reason for not throwing itself whole-heartedly into the effort being made by Central Scottish farmers and potato merchants to secure, with the aid of the Government, the use of the “white elephant” farina mill at Monikie, erected at the expense of the public. For the Government to leave some of its money in this concern, however, thus permitting the acquisition of the mill by those locally interested, in preference to disposing of it at scrap value, would be public real economy from the public point of view. FORFARSHIRE - IMPORTANT FACTORY PREMISES AND/OR PLANT FOR SALE. RECENTLY ERECTED STONE, BRICK, AND FIREPROOF FLOORS, FACTORY PREMISES SITUATE AT MONIKIE, FORFARSHIRE. EQUIPPED WITH NEW FARINA AND STARCH MANUFACTURING PLANT. RAILWAY SIDING INTO PREMISES. ADJOINING STATION, MAIN ROAD TWO SIDES. SUPPLY OF GOOD WATER. STEAM ELECTRIC GENERATING PLANT 400 H.P. SITE COVERS ABOUT 11 ACRES, INCLUDING SEVERAL WORKMEN’S COTTAGES FLOOR AREA ABOUT 50,000 SQ. FEET. LOW FEU DUTY. --- TICKETS FOR INSPECTION OBTAINABLE FROM THE LIQUIDATORS. BRITISH FARINA MILLS LTD., 71 FINSBURY PAVEMENT, LONDON E.C.2. --- OFFERS ARE INVITED FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE PREMISES AND PLANT AS A WHOLE, AND PREMISES OR PLANT SEPARATELY. IN THE MATTER OF THE BRITISH FARINA MILLS LTD., (IN LIQUIDATION). In pursuance of Section 188 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908, a MEETING of the CREDITORS of the above-named Company will be held at the Ministry of Food. Palace Chambers, Westminster, on TUESDAY, the 15th Day of February 1921, at 3.30 o’clock in the Afternoon, for the purposes provided for in the said Section. The Creditors of the above-named Company are required, on or before MONDAY, the 28th Day of February 1921, to send their Names and Addresses and the particulars of their Debts or Claims at such time and place as shall be specified in such Notice, or in default thereof they will be excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such Debts are proved. Dated this 2nd Day of February 1921. GERRISH & FOSTER, Solicitors for the Said Liquidators, 26 College St., College Hill, London E.C.4. MONIKIE FARINA MILLS. Government Negotiating for Sale to Farmers. STATEMENT IN COMMONS. In the House of Commons yesterday, Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson, replying to Mr. W. Shaw, said approximately £80,000 of public money was invested in the farina mills at Monikie, Forfarshire, in which the Government is sole shareholder. Negotiations are taking place between the Ministry and farmers and others in that district will a view to the purchase by the latter of the mill, and if these are brought to a successful conclusion at an early date the mill will be used to deal with the potatoes now available. It is understood locally that if any one with expert knowledge of the farina industry were to come forward and take up the project the scheme would receive support, financial and otherwise, from the farmers in the district. Otherwise farmers are averse to entering into an enterprise of which they have no knowledge. THE FARINA MILL AT MONIKIE. Why Not Set It Going? GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE ITS WORTH. From a Special Correspondent. From the reply given to Captain Shaw in the House of Commons on Monday night it is apparent that the Government is giving favourable consideration to the suggestion made in the "Advertiser" some weeks ago that facilities might be offered for the acquisition of the farina mill at Monikie by the potato growers and merchants of Central Scotland. The first essential to the successful issue of such proposals is that the Government should provide the farmers with all possible light in regard to the situation. Fundamentally all farina- -milling schemes in this country have the same inherent weakness, as would a proposal to create hydro-electric plant to utilise the power produced by floodwater. The plant has to be permanent, the supplies of potatoes, as of floodwater, are merely occasional. Facts Wanted. If this proposal were to create means of utilising surplus potatoes for farina-making few farmers, if any, would give it a second thought. But that is not the position. The mill is there. It has cost the taxpayers £80,000. Apart from the possibilities of the scheme suggested it has presumably only scrap value. If the government is prepared to accept something slightly more than value from a company of local growers and merchants, and to allow a certain proportion of the purchase price to lie on debenture, then it may provide a profitable means of utilising surplus and slightly damaged supplies – an object which would be distinctly advantageous to the grower to secure. The worst feature of the situation is the great lack of reliable information as to working costs. The information available to the public in respect of production costs at sister mills in England, owing to the circumstances under which the concerns were run, gives very little guidance. Practical minds may be pardoned inquiring whether it would not be the best policy for the Government to use the opportunity it now has of an abundant supply of potatoes in Central Scotland, to set the mill agoing, and ascertain the results. The Public View Point. By following such a course it would be in a better position to deal with prospective purchasers, and these would have some reliable indication of the possibilities of the scheme. It surely cannot be that the Government has poured out public money on a scheme, which cannot possibly be worked with success when there are ample supplies of raw material available at very low rates. For Sale "At Best Price Obtainable". GOVERNMENT AND MONIKIE FARINA MILL. In the House of Commons yesterday, Mr. James Gardiner asked the food Controller if he would state the total cost of building and fitting the farina mills at Monikie, when the building operations began, when they were finished and was the work done on estimates; had these mills been used for manufacturing farina or any other purpose; who were the original subscribers of capital, and what sums did each subscriber provide; had the private subscribers any interest in the mill now; if not, when did their interests cease; on what terms were their subscriptions met; were the mills for sale, and, if so, at what price Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson – "As regards the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. member for Forfarshire on 21st February. With regard to the second part I have no information as to the date when building operations began. The equipment of the mills was completed in March 1920. The answer to the third part is in the negative. As regards the remainder of the question, the interests of private subscribers, whose subscriptions were not allocated specifically to this mill, was terminated in January last by the repurchase of their shares at par, and the mill is now for sale at the best price obtainable.' £20,000 Offer for Monikie Farina Mill. NOT WORTH WHILE AS A GIFT, SAYS MR. F. M. BATCHELOR. The request made by the Forfar Agricultural Executive committee to the Board of Agriculture that the farina mill at Monikie should be handed over to a Committee of farmers to work has not been acceded to. A communication was read at a meeting of the Committee in Forfar yesterday stating that, as the Ministry of Food had to be wound up in the shortest possible time, the Minister could not entertain the idea. He was quite open, however, to consider a direct purchase of the mill. Mr. Wilson, Pitairlie – I heard they were offered £20,000, and they refused it. Mr. F. M. Batchelor, Kellyfield, said that at the present price of farina it was not worth paying £2 per ton for potatoes. If the Government allowed foreign farina to come into the country unrestricted, the foreigners would just do with it what they did with other things – put down the price until they drove all competitors out of the market, and then raise it. It would not be worth while to work the mill, even if they got it as a present. SALE OF MONIKIE FARINA MILLS. TAXPAYER STANDS TO LOSE ABOUT £60,000. Farmers’ Potato Problem. A problem with which Scottish farmers, and not the least of those of Forfarshire and neighbouring counties, are at present beset is the disposal of their surplus stocks of potatoes, for which an economic price cannot be realised. The crop of potatoes last year was enormous in bulk and of quite good quality generally. But the market collapsed suddenly, and only a comparative few were fortunate in having sold their supplies before the slump arrived. In the House of Commons lately a reply was given from an official quarter indicating that the Government had no knowledge of a big surplus of potatoes, but one has only to follow the trend of trade in the markets to see that a huge stock has accumulated and will be to a large extent wasted if a better outlet is not found for the supplies. Scottish agriculturists with their experience this year are better informed than the Government on this subject. The prices are now so much below the cost of production that unless some relief is afforded to farmers the probability is that very few potatoes will be grown next season, with great disadvantages to the consumer. To Prevent Waste. At the moment considerable cargoes of seed potatoes are being shipped from Dundee to Austria to help food production in that country, but this Continental order cannot nearly absorb the surplus supplies, even though 50,000 tons or thereby seems a big amount to send. The raising of the question in Parliament by Mr. James Gardiner, M.P. (himself an extensive potato-grower in Perthshire), of the sale of the farina mills at Monikie very fittingly brings into prominence once more the importance of a side industry in potato culture and the need for encouraging it in order to prevent a great quantity of food going to waste, and to reduce the risk of a potato shortage a year hence. The reply of Sir W. Mitchell Thomson to Mr. Gardiner regarding the cost of building and fitting the Monikie Mills and the financing of the undertaking is not at all enlightening, but probably the reticence of the Ministry of Food is due to a desire to cover up the blundering and messing which had characterised the Government’s futile attempt to conduct a business enterprise. More Information Wanted. The likelihood is that the Food Ministry will be further pressed by Mr. Gardiner to give further information on the financing of the Monikie undertaking. It is asserted that the whole farina business, involving the mills at Monikie, King’s Lynn, and Boston (Lincolnshire) was pooled by the Government, and that certain of the original subscribers believed that if they assumed a share they would get a monopoly of the business. The venture has proved a paying “spec.” neither to those who subscribed at the beginning nor to the taxpayer. The interest of the latter centres at the moment in the transferring of the properties at the best price that can be obtained to the companies being promoted to buy the mills. The King’s Lynn Mills are being absolutely scrapped. The machinery is being taken out and handed over at the price of scrap to a syndicate, which has bought the Boston place. The purchase price of the latter is understood to be in the vicinity of £18,000. The cost to the Government of the Boston Mills is believed to be between £90,000 and £100,000. Loss of £60,000.
The syndicate referred to is comprised of potato-growers and merchants in the neighbourhood, and the mill will be used to absorb the crops that cannot be sold. The Monikie Mills cost the Government about £80,000. The price to those negotiating for their purchase will probably be less than that received for the Boston mills, as the latter are better situated in a district where there are a tremendous lot of potatoes growing, whereas the Monikie place is on a single line and in a neighbourhood not so extensively devoted to raising crops of the kind. Even should the price received be equal to that for the Boston subjects the loss to the British taxpayer on the Monikie undertaking will be £50,000 or £60,000. And the irony of the whole business is that no farina has been produced from the mills. THE MONIKIE FARINA - "WAR MEMORIAL". The Monikie Farina Mills, which are regarded by many as a "war memorial" to Government extravagance and mismanagement, are in the market. A sum of nearly £100,000 was expended in erecting and equipping the mills. The questions of whether they will yet be useful for the manufacture of farina [potato starch] or be scrapped are evoking much interest among agriculturists and ratepayers generally. Fate of Farina Mills. MONIKIE FOR SALE ON THE BEST TERMS. Mr. James Gardiner asked the President of the Board of Trade, in the House of Commons yesterday, whether the company formed to erect mills for the production of farina was promoted by the Government, by private individuals, or by both; what was the capital invested in the Company; who were the individuals, and to what extent did they each advance part of the capital; how many mills were erected; and where did they produce farina. Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame – The Company was promoted by private individuals, with Government support. £20,000 was the capital invested by the following persons: - Mr. H. W. Richards, £8000; Mr. D. L. Patullo, £5999; Mr. H. Gunson, £3000; Mr. A. E. Harris, £3000; Mr. C. W. Higgs, £1. No mills were erected, but four ere acquired - at King’s Lynn, Boston, Monikie and Hull. The mill at King’s Lynn produced 1875 tons of farina, and that at Boston 150 tons. The cost of the mills with equipment amounted to £247,000. The mills at Boston have been purchased by certain farmers in that area, and are again producing farina. The other mills are not in use at present. The Boston mills have been sold out, and the others are for sale on the best possible terms. Private subscribers were paid out in London at par. FATE OF MONIKIE FARINA MILLS. A FACTORY EQUIPPED TO PERFECTION. What "Scrapping" Would Mean (Special to the 'Courier'). What is to become of the Monikie Farina Mills, which were erected at enormous cost by this Government, and which are now in the market? The equipment of the mills was completed in March, 1920. No farina has yet been manufactured, and the scrapping of a similar factory in England prompts the belief that the Government have given up hope altogether of reviving the industry. Farina is the name given to the starch extracted from the tuber. It exists in minute grains in the large cells, and it is necessary to break the cell walls before the grains can be washed out. The processes followed in the manufacture of the starch are exceedingly complicated but intensely interesting, and a visitor to a farina factory such as that at Monikie, equipped with the most up-to-date plant, will marvel at the elaborate and effective methods employed in the various processes of washing, drying, pressing, settling, &c, to which the tuber is subjected from the moment it is received into the cement pits until it emerges in the form of the beautiful glistening white farina. The potatoes are washed with care in capacious revolving wire drums. After cleansing they are rasped and lacerated. The pulp formed is placed in a series of shaking sieves and the starch washed out with fine jets of running water. The milky liquor is further passed through a very fine sieve, and the starch afterwards finds its way into settling tanks. This pulp is dried and pressed, then used as cattle food. The wash water from potato starch is rich in potash phosphates and albuminous matter, and is in consequence of manurial value. Estimated to cost £200,000. What have these mills at Monikie cost to erect and equip? Questions in Parliament have elicited from responsible heads of Departments the facts that the sum of approximately £80,000 of public money was invested in the venture, and that the estimated cost of the buildings and plant was £66,000. Those in the district who have had an opportunity of watching the work in progress, and noting the time it took, the number of workmen employed, the class of building material used, and the superior nature of the machinery and plant introduced, feel that neither of these estimates can “look at” the actual outlay. It is doubtful even if the totals combined would form an accurate estimate. Probably the expert opinion of a Forfarshire contractor that the mills cost something like £200,000 would be found to be nearer the mark. Those who have been privileged to inspect the factory state that it is equipped to perfection. The engines are of the latest design and of enormous power, the appliances are of the most elaborate construction, complete in detail and of beautiful workmanship, and have been fitted up regardless of expense. It is said that experiments have been tried at the other Government farina centres in England with the object of perfecting the equipment at Monikie, and that as a result the Forfarshire mills will compare with the very finest on the Continent, where farina production has been reduced to a fine art. The Inside Appearance. The outside appearance of the buildings does not convey to the casual observer the slightest idea of the real value of the Monikie factory. Glancing at the mill from the railway, which runs close by, one receives the impression of an ordinary-looking structure resembling a small factory in a country town. The buildings are practically new, and although labour and material are dear enough in all conscience the expense incurred in their erection was small in comparison with what must have been involved in rigging out the interior. The concrete flooring in itself has been a costly item in the contractor’s charges, but it is the wonderful engineering work, embracing all the necessary appliances for washing, grinding, drying, sieving and settling the potatoes as they go through the various stages in the production of farina, that has led to such an enormous capital outlay in the enterprise. And this model factory, which has been ready for a whole year to receive and manufacture farina from 1000 tons of potatoes per week, is in danger of being scrapped! Many farmers who have visited the mills have stood amazed at the perfect arrangement of every part of the specially equipped machinery in each department of the four extensive floors of the buildings.
The drying or cooling process in the production of the starch is particularly important, and the plant specially designed to accomplish this work must alone have cost thousands of pounds. It extends almost from the ground floor to the roof of the buildings, and the whole framework is in one piece. Scrapping the mill means reducing this extremely costly and elaborate fitting to firewood.
If the Government scraps these mills the ratepayers, particularly those in the district of Monikie, who are in a position to appreciate their tremendous value, will be justified in demanding a public enquiry into the whole history of the scheme and taking to task those responsible for its failure. It would be a shame to destroy such magnificent machinery without an effort being made to start the industry which it was installed to promote. Not a particle of starch has been produced from the mills, and until an attempt has been made to manufacture farina and the trial is conducted in a business-like fashion it would be an act of folly to sacrifice the mills for a paltry few thousand pounds, which is all that would be got for them from the scrapping merchants. If the Government wants to save its face it must see that the mils are retained for farina production. If necessary it must subsidise any company – say of farmers and potato merchants – until the industry has been fairly well, established or at all events until evidence is forthcoming that the manufacture is a hopelessly uneconomic proposition in this country. Government’s Blunder. It appears that the Government, realising now the tremendous blunder they made in launching such an undertaking without thoroughly examining the risks at the outset, are anxious to get the mills off their hands at any price almost. “The mills are now for sale at the best price obtainable,” Sir W. Mitchell Thomson told Mr. Gardiner. This shows a determination by the Food Ministry to get rid of the factory no matter who buys it or what becomes of it. But it is the duty of Scottish M.P.s to see that before the mills are disposed for scrap, as has been suggested, every effort to get the machinery run for the production of farina has been entirely exhausted. A visit of inspection to the mills by the local members who have taken the matter up in Parliament will strengthen their determination to prevent the scheme being abandoned at this stage. The proposal to start the mills by county agriculturists has, unfortunately, received a set-back by the chilly reception it received from those in a neighbouring county who were asked to co-operate. Farina production is an industry, of course, which few in this country know much about, and one can understand the hesitancy shown by certain farmers in days of falling prices to embark upon a new venture of the kind. Stimulating Production. But in Monikie district and throughout Forfarshire generally it is confidently anticipated that if sufficiently “boosted” the enterprise is bound to succeed. The mills are I perfect condition; the machinery is the best that engineering skill can make it, the situation in the centre of an extensive potato-growing area is almost ideal, and the amount of raw material at hand is incalculable. The Monikie mills are capable of producing a third of the total supplies of farina required by Great Britain. They could produce several grades of starch and compete with the finest products of the Continental factories. POLISHING A “WHITE ELEPHANT”. Monikie Farina Mill Situation. TAXPAYERS INDIGNANT. The fate of the famous farina mill at Monikie, erected and equipped at a cost of about £80,000, is arousing much interest in Forfarshire at present. The mill was erected by the British Farina Mills, Ltd., now in liquidation, and it was established by evidence led before the Committee on Public Accounts, that the Government through one of its Departments had undertaken to guarantee the promoters against all loss entailed in the manufacture of farina, and that nearly half a million of public money had been spent on the scheme of which the Monikie enterprise formed part. Questions on the House of Commons elicited the information that very little private capital had been sunk in the undertaking, and that from first to last the British taxpayer had been called upon to bear the burden of the loss incurred, the Secretary to the Ministry of Food having admitted that, whilst his Department’s interest in the matter "had been very limited in point of time, it had been very unlimited in point of expenditure." What is interesting public opinion in the district regarding what is locally termed the “Monikie War Memorial” is the fact that not only is the mill standing idle, but that a staff of several workmen continues to be stationed there, and that the Government appears to be doing nothing towards cutting its losses on the transaction, though the machinery is being well looked after.
How Matters Stand. But all this savours of polishing the armour of a dead Knight, for the prevailing opinion is that, as a practical proposition, running the mill for farina production is impossible. In these circumstances it is argued that the Government should long ago have got rid of the concern. Inquiries made by the “Advertiser” elicited the information that the mill continues the property of the British Farina Mills, Ltd., (in liquidation), and the staff there is in its employment. It consists of a manager and two men, who are there merely in the capacity of caretakers, and who are responsible to the liquidators for the safety of the mill. Their work consists merely of greasing, cleaning, and keeping the machinery in order. It is awaiting disposal. Matters are now approaching a point (wires our London correspondent) at which the Monikie Farina Mill must be disposed of, and I am informed that there is a possibility that if the farmers do not come together for the consideration of suggestions on similar lines to those upon which the abortive conference of the last Christmas was based interests other than agricultural may step in and acquire the machinery which could be applied to other industries, notably the manufacture of starch. The power plant might also be disposed of in this way. A Dutch Incentive. Another alternative is that those parts of the plant which could not be sold for re-installation could be disposed of as scrap, but I believe the official view is that it would be preferable if the mill were maintained as a going concern and run co-operatively by the farmers of Forfarshire, Perthshire and Fife. It is pointed out that, in addition to the profits, which would with proper working accrue to those concerned, the mill would provide a convenient means of disposing of their superfluous produce. Recognition is given to the fact that no other body of farmers could conveniently undertake the running of the mill in its present geographical position, as the cost of transporting raw material from distant farms would lessen its prospects of success. The Farmers’ View. Inquiry at agriculturists concerned gives not the slightest hope of the suggestion that the Forfarshire, Perthshire and Fife farmers might take over the mill being realised. It is pointed out that on evidence laid before the Committee on Public Accounts the cost of farina produced under the original scheme was £128 16s 3d per ton, and that on the open market it realised only £42 8s 4d. In view of that the farmers declare that they would never dream of having anything to do with the mill. The Monikie Mill. The Monikie Farina Mill, the monument to Governmental extravagance in the county, is again very much discussed in Dundee market, probably owing to the unprofitable nature of potato production this year, and the hope that something may yet be done to set the mill agoing and so absorb what surplus tubers there may be to dispose of. In the meantime those closely interested in the management of the mill keep marking time, awaiting developments, but what the developments are likely to be no one seems to have the least earthly conception. The mill, the magnificent machinery of which it would be almost sinful to scrap, seems destined to remain an eyesore to the district, at least so long as the Government exercise control over it. THE MONIKIE MILL. "White Elephant" and Its "Mahouts". NEW PUBLIC GRIEVANCE. Forfarshire has another grievance against the policy, which is being pursued in regard to the Farina Mill at Monikie, on which so much public money has been spent, and in regard to the delay in the disposal of which much indignation has been expressed in recent months. The Dundee District Committee has recently been faced with the necessity of securing additional cottages for occupation by its road surfacemen, and approached the British Farina Mills, Ltd. (in liquidation), with a view to securing a let of cottages at the Monikie mill. At yesterday’s meeting of the Committee a reply was submitted stating that the owners did not want to let any of the cottages as the property was to be put up for sale as a whole. The reply did not give satisfaction, and the Clerk was asked if the Committee had not power to commandeer empty houses in the district. Remark was also made on the Government’s interest in the mill. Expensive "Mahouts" Mr. J. R. Pratt, Birkhill, that if the property was to be sold at an early date all would be well; if the sale was held up much longer, however, all would not be well. Mr. F. M. Batchelor, of Kellyfield, said that the sale of the property had been hung up for over a year now. Mr. Durkie – Are the Mahouts still looking after the white elephant? Mr. Batchelor remarked that the amount of money spent on watching the property was something terrible. MONIKIE FARINA MILLS TO BE SOLD. Still Waiting To Supply. The Starch. The intimation that the Farina Mills at Monikie are shortly to be offered for sale was made at a meeting of Dundee District Committee held yesterday – Mr. F. M. Batchelor presiding. In response to a communication from the committee as to whether they could let any of the cottages adjoining the mills for the purpose of providing accommodation for roadmen the proprietors replied that none of the cottages could be leased, as the whole concern was to be offered for sale. The Committee agreed to the purchase of a double house at Monikie, which is to be occupied by a policeman and a roadman. The total cost is £750, of which three-sevenths falls to be paid by the Committee. Where is the Farina? The Monikie Farina Mills are magnificently equipped with the most up-to-date perfect machinery used in the production of potato starch. The building has been looked upon as a "white elephant" and a monument to Government extravagance, for although it cost an enormous outlay and was completed a few years ago it has not produced an ounce of farina. The reappearance of the mills in the market reopens the question of the magnificent plant installed being yet used for the purpose for which it was intended or scrapped and the building used for another purpose altogether. Some time ago an effort was made to form a company of farmers with the object of acquiring the mills for farina production, but the scheme unfortunately fell through. The mills, with their perfect equipment, are situated in the centre of a large potato-growing area, and there is a hope that under new management a start will yet be made in the manufacture of farina. In seasons like last year, when there was a big surplus and prices were at a low level, the mills would have prevented a great waste of potatoes by absorbing what the farmer could not sell for ordinary consumption. PURCHASE OF FARINA MILL SUGGESTED AT POTATO TRADE CONFERENCE AT PERTH. Railway rates, farina mills, and other matters affecting the Scottish potato trade were discussed by the members of the Perth, Fife, Forfar, and North of Scotland Potato Trade Association at the annual meeting and lunch held in the Salutation Hotel, Perth, yesterday. Mr. David Maxwell, Ballindarg, Forfar, the president, paid tribute to the service rendered to the Association by Mr. R. McLagan, Perth, the vice-president. In the annual report submitted by the secretary (Mr. T. Logan of Messrs Mitchell & Logan, solicitors, Perth) it was mentioned that a committee, consisting of the chairman, Mr. L. Anderson, Mr. W. J. Reid, and the secretary was appointed to consider the question of having a farina mill in Scotland for the purpose of handling surplus crops, but after a good deal of correspondence and consideration the committee were of opinion that it would be inadvisable to take further action in the matter. The committee also had under consideration the short-weight question, and the matter had been taken up by the Farmers’ Union. The Scottish Potato Trade Executive was to advise the Association regarding an interview with Mr. Hunter, secretary of the Farmers’ Union.
Railway Rates. The Board of Agriculture had intimated that they would do what they could to have the railway rates reduced. The membership now stood at 81, six members having resigned during the year. In the financial statement it was shown that there was a substantial balance in hand. Mr. J. Edgar, Perth, pointed out that a communication had been received that no further reduction could be made in the rates between England and Scotland. Mr. William Robertson, Perth, a veteran of the Association, advocating the purchase of a farina mill, said that if the Japanese could grow potatoes and send farina to this country at a profit he did not see how they could not do the same.
The following office-bearers were appointed:- Hon. Presidents, Mr. James Gardiner, M.P., Mr. William Robertson; and Mr. D. Maxwell, the retiring president; president, Mr. R. Morris, Burrelton; vice-president, Mr. James M. Tasker, East Camno, Meigle, committee, Messrs William Robertson, D. Maxwell, R. T. McLagan, Perth; R. Batchelor, Dundee; J. Edgar, Perth, T. M. Tasker, Blairgowrie, W. J. Reid, Fordhouse; James Galloway, Errol; William Thomson, Carnoustie; L. Anderson, Coupar Angus; John Ogilvie, Dundee; Arch. Powrie, Perth; and William Smith, Leslie; representatives to Scottish Potato Trade Executive, Messrs Morris, Maxwell, McLagan, Reid and Edgar; secretary and treasurer, Mr. Logan. It was decided to continue the subscription at one guinea. HOW HALF-A-MILLION WAS SQUANDERED, Farina Folly In Forfarshire and England. £483,000 SPENT AND £45,000 RECEIVED. From a Special Correspondent. An amazing masterpiece of mess and muddle is constituted in the Government’s enterprise towards the establishment of farina milling in this country. About a fortnight ago the "Advertiser" directed attention to the case of the mill at Monikie, costing about £80,000 for buildings and equipment, which, though scarcely yet completed, was likely to be put upon the market and sold at scrap value. Much additional light is thrown upon the situation in the reports of the Committee on Public Accounts, and the evidence submitted to it in respect of the agreement between the Government and the British Farina Mills, Ltd. The evidence shows that up to 31st Jan. 1920 the Government had advanced about half a million pounds to the Company, and the only assets accruing to the State from this tremendous outlay was £45,000, received for farina; stock in hand valued at £10,000, and the scrap value of the mills. The whole circumstances, so revealed, evidence deplorable bungling on the part of the Departments concerned. The responsibility of suggesting the scheme appears to rest with the Food Production Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, but in April 1918 the matter was taken up by the Ministry of Food, which, apparently without any independent investigation of the circumstances, entered into an agreement whereby the British Farina Mills, Ltd., was to be indemnified against all loss by the Government. The administration of the agreement was, in June 1919, handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, but the financial responsibility to the Treasury continued to rest with the Ministry of Food. "Very Unlimited Expenditure". The evidence indicates that, owing to inter-Departmental misunderstanding or otherwise, the Government’s liability was allowed to increase from an initial undertaking to indemnify Mr. Richards and Mr. Patullo for out-of-pocket expenses "in finding suitable premises," should the Ministry of Agriculture and the promoters of the Company "not come to a working agreement," to responsibility for any working losses incurred. It is significant that Sir Henry Craik should have referred to one of the preliminary letters written by an official in regard to the scheme as "an extraordinarily uneducated and ill-composed letter, which we (the Committee) must construe into English as well as we can." The evidence led before the Committee was lengthy and involved, but the general position is abundantly clear, and constitutes a record of ‘squandermania’ and ill-considered action, which will not conduce to cheerfulness on the part of the British taxpayer in bearing the burdens of Government extravagance. Giving evidence on behalf of his Department, Mr. F. H. Coller, C. B., Secretary to the Ministry of Food, said – "Our interest in this matter has been very limited in point of time, but very unlimited in point of expenditure." "Under an agreement dated 23rd April 1918", says the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report, The Ministry of Food advanced £300,000 to the British Farina Mills, Ltd., secured on debentures of the Company, for the acquisition and equipment of four mills, and for the necessary working capital, with the object of manufacturing farina in this country. In 1919-20 a further capital sum of £25,000 was advanced to the Company. The agreement provided that the whole of the Company’s output should be taken by the Food Controller at the cost of production, plus commission. In addition to the advances of capital of £325,000 we have made payments for the cost of production up to 31st January 1920 of £168,000, including commission. FARINA FACTORY PREMISES etc. - PLANT AT MONIKIE FOR SALE. New Stone and Brick Factory Buildings, with Fireproof Floors, having area of about 50,000 square feet, situate at Monikie, Forfarshire. Equipped with New Farina (Potato Flour) manufacturing plant; steam electric generating plant, with all auxiliaries; workshop equipment, stores, &c. Good water supply. Railway siding. Main road two sides; covers an area of about 11 acres, including several Workmen’s’ Cottages. Low Feu-Duty. UNLESS THE MILL IS SOLD AS A GOING CONCERN BEFORE 31st MARCH, 1922, THE PREMISES WILL BE DISMANTLED, AND THE PLANT SOLD PIECEMEAL. The Liquidators, British Farina Mills, Ltd., Rooms 210, Windsor Hotel Victoria Street, S.W.1. MONIKIE FARINA MILLS IN THE MARKET - TO BE DISMANTLED IF NOT SOLD SOON. The famous Monikie farina mill, probably the best-equipped building of the kind in Britain, is again in the market. Although erected at great cost and installed with plant of the latest pattern used in the manufacture of farina or potato flour, the mills have never produced any of the product, but there is a keen desire among the large agricultural community in Forfarshire and neighbouring counties to see the industry started. An opportunity is presented for an enterprising group of farmers or merchants to get the mills agoing. Farina production can be made very profitable, and the superior nature of the plant and the situation of the factory in the centre of a large potato-growing district and beside a railway station should encourage the promoting of a company to acquire and start the mills. In the event of the property not being sold as a going concern before 31st March the premises will be dismantled and the plant sold piecemeal. The liquidators are the British Farina Mills Ltd., London. The fireproof floors of the buildings have an area of about 50,000 square feet. In addition to the manufacturing machinery and appliances there is steam electric generating plant, with all auxiliaries. The Mills cover an area of about 11 acres. FATE OF MONIKIE FARINA MILLS - POSSIBILITY OF VALUABLE PLANT BEING SCRAPPED. What is to be the fate of the farina mills at Monikie? If they are not sold as a going concern before the end of March, the premises are to be dismantled and the plant sold piecemeal. "It would be a great pity," an engineer told the "Courier" yesterday, "if such valuable plant is broken up. The electric installation is of the best." The place, of course, has never been used as a farina mill, and it is problematical whether it ever would be, but the electrical plant has been seen in operation, and it works perfectly. The boilers, steam producing, and power producing plant are all very valuable in their place, but if it is decided to split them into lots their worth is greatly diminished. The money their sale would yield would not give an economic return. The buildings have no potential value if the power station is removed. Conveniently situated, with good water supply, a railway siding, spacious floor space, the factory might be utilised for a variety of commercial purposes if trade was better. MONIKIE FARINA MILL. Sir, I notice an announcement that if the farina mill at Monikie is not sold by the end of next month it maybe broken up piecemeal. It is devoutly to be hoped this alternative will not be put into operation. Surely some scheme can be supported to bring an industry to Monikie. That would be to the benefit of the whole countryside. Agricultural implements and corn milling are suggested. What about bringing the factory under the notice of Mr. Henry Ford, the famous motor manufacturer, who has many schemes on hand? I am, etc., PROGRESSIVE. The Monikie Farina Mill. When all has been said, we do not know what the state of the potato market is to be. There is a good deal of “blight”; one never knows what are to be the weather conditions between now and lifting time; and some farmers who have been busy with "rogueing" are no longer so satisfied as they were with the prospects of a bumper maincrop yield. This is one of the things on which the Asquithian "Wait and see" is an essentially wise pronouncement. If the rosiest crop estimates are realised then what is most in the national interest is that this bumper crop should be turned to best national account. Farmers can facilitate such an outcome themselves by using the maximum they profitably can for stock-feeding purposes. A big increase in bacon production is one of the needs of the times, to which many Scottish agriculturists have long seemed wilfully blind. Already, too, there is suggestion that the "white elephant" at Monikie may be utilised to some good purpose at last. The work of dismantling has, I am told, has been temporarily suspended, and there seems to be some hope of its being acquired as a farina mill by an Edinburgh purchaser. Anything done would be on a small scale, probably – a consumption of 300 tons a week is talked of – but even that would considerably help things in Forfarshire, should the crop prove so abundant as some folks are predicting. A FARINA MILL IDEA. Farmers are in trouble owing to the vast surplus of potatoes, which is estimated at 230,000,000 tons. At meetings of growers at Boston and Spalding the question of utilising the famous mills, which were built by the Government during the war, was discussed. Alderman H. P. Carter stated that South Lincolnshire would this year have a surplus of 100,000 tons over the crop of 1916, and the farina mills could be made to absorb one -third of that surplus. Farina realised from £18 to £22 per ton, and farmers would be paid £1 per ton for potatoes. The Secretary of the Holland (Lincolnshire) Farmers’ Union suggested that a portion of their surplus should be allowed to rot. It was decided to induce the National Farmers’ Union to call a countrywide conference to formulate a scheme for the benefit of potato-growers. The Price of Potatoes. Farmers in the Dundee district were not very consistent yesterday in their attitude towards the proposal to urge the Government to start Monikie Farina Mill. It was pointed out by one of their number that the demand locally for potatoes would, in the event of the mill being worked, would be so great that potatoes would touch a price which would render them prohibitive for farina purposes. Yet the meeting had previously commended a proposal to keep Dutch potatoes out of the country on the plea that they brought in disease. But the farmers cannot have it both ways. For farina purposes potatoes must be cheap; in the interest of the farmers they must be dear. On the other hand, the domestic consumer wishes to pay only a fair price. Dutch Potato Imports. That Dutch potato imports should be excluded from the country because of the danger of disease was a statement of Mr. A. Batchelor that gained general approval. The potato trade, declared Mr. Batchelor, was as bad as it could be, and the reason was the importation of potatoes from Holland. There was likely to be a big importation yet from Holland unless they were prohibited, as they ought to be, on the ground that they brought in disease. Leaf curl and mosaic were prevalent in Holland, and these were diseases they wanted kept out of this country. At the present moment there was great risk of these diseases being brought in with the potatoes from Holland. The farmers and the trade organisation were putting forward every effort to prevent the landing of these potatoes on that ground alone. The Ministry of Agriculture had tied them up very fast on the question of disease when it affected Canadian cattle, and he hoped they would do the same with potatoes from Holland. Popularising Potatoes. The inventor who can discover a means of presenting potatoes ready cooked and only requiring heating for eating will, in the opinion of Mr. F. M. Batchelor, be a benefactor to the farmer and the consumer. Mr. Batchelor said he was sure such a process would increase the consumption of potatoes threefold. His opinion was it was too great trouble to people to wash and cook potatoes. (A voice) --- What about the chip potatoes? Mr. Batchelor said there was something in that. There were lots of cooked foods sold ready to eat. The great drawback of potatoes was that it cost so much trouble to make them ready for consumption. Mr. J. W. A. Wilson, Pitairlie, who presided, suggested that they should ask the Government to start Monikie Farina Mill. If ever there was a suitable year, he said, it was this year. Even if the price given for the potatoes was not big - - £1 to 35s. – it was better than dumping the potatoes. He understood a prospective buyer had been there with the intention of starting the mill to take 300 tons a week. In the event of that falling through they might ask the Government to get the mill started for the benefit of the potato crop. A member said £2 was the maximum price that could be given for the potatoes if the mill were to be successful, and it was asked if they had a prospect of the mill taking a thousand tons a week how long this price would remain at £2. It would be £5 in a month. ======================================================================================== And MORE RECENTLY - in later 1990's, the following appears in the local press regarding the facility. ======================================================================================== THAINSTONE SPECIALIST AUCTIONS. AUCTION SALE of GRAIN DRYING and other PLANT and EQUIPMENT at MONIKIE MILL, Near DUNDEE on WEDNESDAY, September 11, at 10.30 a.m. Instructed by Dalgety Agricultural Ltd., due to re-organisation of their facilities and the closure of the site at Monikie. GRAIN HANDLING EQUIPMENT · CIMBRIA 50-Tons per hour at 3% Extraction twin tower Complete GRAIN DRYING PLANT with 4 x 25-Ton Bulk Drop. Bins with associated Building and Diesel Tank. · Set of 4 x 250-Ton GRAIN STORAGE BINS, complete with Handling Auger, Conveyors and Elevators · SVENSKA FLATFABRIKEN 25 t/hour continuous Grain Drying Plant complete with Boiler, Top up Bin, associated Elevators and Control Panel. · BENTALL GRAIN DRYER (Damaged), with Fan and Burner. Westrup SM 120 Grain Dressers; 3 Dressers/Cleaners, various; over 1000 ft. 8 in. Steel Case Chain and Flight Conveyors from 30 ft. to 270 ft., complete with Catwalks; over 300 ft. of 14 in. Belt Conveyors with Catwalks; 40 ft. 8 in. Auger Conveyor; 28 ft., 70 ft., 20ft.12in. Auger Conveyors; Mobile 40 ft. 12 in. Auger Conveyor; 60 ft. 18 in. Belt Elevator; 60 ft. Steel Elevator with 6 ft. Cross Auger; Elevators, various; Hopper and auto Weigh Unit with Elevator; set of 6 x 60-ton Steel Bins with Top and Bottom Conveyors; Cubing Plant. Complete with Hoppers; Upright Molasses Tank with Fulton Diesel Boiler; set of 4 x 20 t Dump Bins with Elevator; Auto-weigh/Bagger/Stitcher with 20 ft. Conveyor; 2 x Damas Twin Cyclone Dust Extraction Unit; Type sigma 1004; 2 other Dust Bag Extraction Units; &c. PLANT X Registered Sanderson 227S Teleporter with Bucket; Volvo BM Shovel LM621 with Grain Bucket; R Registered Volvo Shovel BML M621 with Grain Bucket; 2-Ton Hyster Forklift Triple Mast; Lansing Bagnal 2-Ton Twin Mast Forklift; Sanderson Extension Shovel; Grain Bucket; Mobile Conveyor Belt with Extension and Hopper; Sanderson Forks; Verinde 2-Ton Electric Winch; 20 various 18 in. Cylinder Fans; various Fuel Tanks from 600 Gallons to 6000 Gallons; Compressor Turning Lathe; Bantam 180 Welder; 110-Volt Transformer; Pillar Drills; various 3-Phase Motors MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS Include quantity of Office Desks, chairs and Cabinets; quantity of Laboratory Equipment including Glassware; Twin Lab; Oven; various Grain Testers; 2 Laboratory Mills; 2 Kjell-Foss Nitrogen Test Units, &c; various miscellaneous Spares and Tools including Bearings, Seals, Track Gauges, Air Greaser, Hydraulic Pipes, Lorry Spares, Nuts, Bolts, Pipe Bender; over 2000 Sleepers; various Riddles; &c. Viewing on TUESDAY, September 10, from 8 a.m.- 5.30 p.m., and 8 a.m. on Day of Sale. Catalogues available. Location is approximately 9 miles north of Dundee, A92 then B961 2 miles past Newbigging. All items subject to final presentation. Contact NEIL LESLIE or ELRICK MACKIE for further details. THAINSTONE, INVERURIE, ABERDEENSHIRE, AB51 5XZ Telephone 01467 623700 :: Fax 01467 623777 Member of ANM Group Ltd. D.A.MANNING Auctioneers, Valuer and Appraiser. ============================================================================================= Former Panmure Trading Company Premises to Close. A trading agreement reached between Dalgety Agriculture Ltd., and Grainfax, Ltd., will mean the closure of Dalgety’s operation at Monikie, formerly the Panmure Trading Company. The premises in Monikie will now be put up for sale, as surplus to requirements. Dalgety’s business activities will move in mid-August to a new site in the deep-water Dundee Harbour area, operated jointly with Grainfax, and both companies believe that the new venture will lead to greater efficiency which will, in turn, benefit their customers. There will be three redundancies from the present Monikie staff, and the remainder, some 20 including sales representatives, will be transferred to the new premises in Dundee. Grainfax already has its grain facilities at Dundee Harbour, ant these will become a joint venture for the drying, handling and storage of grain. The change will come in mid-August, and the non-grain side of Dalgety’s business will also be transferred to the Dundee premises. There will also be storage for fertilisers and plant protection products. Harvest-time will soon be here again, and by the start of the harvest, storage facilities for some 130,000 tonnes of cereals will be in place. Computer-controlled drying, in three driers, can proceed at a capacity of 130 tonnes per hour, and state-of-the-art computer technology will ensure the efficient running of the joint business. Dalgety Agriculture sees the move to Dundee as being wholly beneficial, providing first- -class premises, to the advantage of customers, growers and retailers. The combined business will utilise the first-class road infrastructure and the port’s investment in plant and equipment. The Scottish regional manager for Dalgety, Mr. Willie Fergusson, who is based at Turriff, described the agreement between the companies as a very positive move forward. Dalgety markets more grain and oilseeds for U.K. growers and co-operatives than any other organisation. The company supplies premium malting, milling and feed markets at home and abroad, as well as trading arable crops. When the Monikie premises close, the traditional cash farm sale and speciality feed facilities will be handled by a number of retailers in Angus and Perth. Locally the supplier will be D. Conchie (Jun), Barry. Customers will be notified when the change is to take place. Dalgety bought the Panmure Trading Company in July, 1985, a year after they acquired R.H.M. (Rank-Hovis McDougall). The Panmure Trading Company was an independent, locally-owned business, established in 1954 by farmers in the district. The site in Monikie was under Government control after the First World War, when there was a surplus of potatoes, and it was believed that farina (flour) could be extracted from them on a large enough scale to make it worthwhile.
The preceding article prepared and edited by the late DBS, and the Webmaster. Readers are advised to consult the original articles in the newspapers from which most of the information has been gleaned. April 2002.
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