Friday, September 02, 2016

Exploring Southwell: Caudwell's Mill and the old railway station

After the glories of the Minster, my favourite part of Southwell is the Burgage. Here the street opens out into a wide green. One of the houses around it was the boyhood home of Lord Byron.

Keep walking away from the town centre and you will find the outskirts dominated by an unexpectedly large brick industrail building,

Its story is told by a town heritage trail leaflet:
Caudwell's Mill stands on the River Greet on the site of Southwell’s mediaeval Burgage mill. 
When Charles Caudwell, whose family originated from Derbyshire, bought the mill in 1851 he made changes, thus greatly increasing the mill’s capacity. Wheat was transported to the mill by road, rail and water. Local corn arrived by horse and cart, supplies from further afield came from the R.Trent by barge to a wharf at Fiskerton which still stands. 
The mill suffered serious fires on three occasions in 1867, 1893 and 1917. On each occasion the opportunity was taken to modernise the plant ...
Local bakers took their supply of flour from the mill, best known was ‘Mosedale’s’ Bakery and Caudwell’s ‘Greet Lily Flour’ won the Nottinghamshire’s Bakers Cup in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912 and 1914. 
The mill was taken over by Associated British Foods, who closed it in 1977 and in 1989 the mill was converted into residential apartments,
On the near side of the Greet you will find the town's old railway station. The leaflet will help you on that too:
Southwell was connected to the Midland Railway network by a short branch line from Rolleston Junction on the Nottingham to Lincoln line on the 1st July 1847 but there was not a regular passenger service by steam locomotives until 1860. The line was extended to Mansfield on the 3rd April 1871 with stations placed at Kirklington, Farnsfield and Rainworth. 
Apart from its value to passengers the line carried grain to the Caudwell Mill and assisted the movement of livestock and livestock products such as milk. Coal was carried from the collieries to the east of Mansfield. Southwell Racecourse was also well served by special ‘Excursion’ trains. 
The ‘Paddy’ was a little ‘pull and push’ train consisting usually of the tank engine and one coach. It was held in some affection and to this day brings back strong memories ... 
The Southwell-Rolleston line was closed to passengers on the 16th June 1959 though the National Coal Board still used the line until 1968.
You can see film of the Southwell-Rolleston line on this blog and you can find the platform shelters from Southwell still in use at Beeston station.

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