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Monikie Farina Mill
(Formerly Affleck Seed Crushing Works and latterly Monikie Granary.)

(old location map)

INTRODUCTORY NOTE -The following account was culled from a collection of clippings from the pages of the ‘Dundee Advertiser’, the ‘Dundee Courier’ and the Dundee Evening Telegraph of the early 1920s regarding a modern Farina Mill, built in Monikie (situated in the county then known as Forfarshire or Angus). It was modelled on similar mills in Boston and King’s Lynn in the Lincolnshire/Norfolk counties of England, where the potato was a staple crop. The mills turned surplus potatoes, particularly those suffering slight damage, into a flour (farina) for human consumption. The idea had been to supplement the diet of the population during the years of the Great War (1914-18).

The Farina Mill manager

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.
Bert Smit

  Can you provide any photos of the building/s? These might be placed on this website but must be free of copyright restrictions.

  Some photographs of the demolition of the granary and erection of new housing on the site appear HERE.

The following extracts are from the 1881 Census add interest -

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

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. 
Farmers Should Concentrate on Immune Varieties.  
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

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.
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. 
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.
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.
Interesting Results of Forfarshire Trials.
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 -
	(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
	(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
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. 

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.

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.
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 
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."
Monument to Government Muddle and Extravagance. 
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. 
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."

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. 
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. 

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. 
Solicitors for the Said Liquidators,
26 College St., College Hill, London E.C.4. 
Government Negotiating for Sale to Farmers. 
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. 
Why Not Set It Going? 
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".
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.
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.
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 
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 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.
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.
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 
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 

Monikie Farina Mill Situation.
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. 

"White Elephant" and Its "Mahouts". 
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. 
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. 

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, 
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. 
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.

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 
 The Liquidators, British Farina Mills, Ltd., 
 Rooms 210, Windsor Hotel 
 Victoria Street, S.W.1. 
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., 
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. 
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.
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., 
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 

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.
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.
· 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.
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

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. 
Telephone 01467 623700 :: Fax 01467 623777 
Member of ANM Group Ltd. 
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.

  Can you provide any photos of the building/s?
These might be placed on this website but must be free of copyright restrictions.

A few photographs taken during the demolition of the granary, and start of the development of the site for housing, appear HERE.


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