Throwback Thursday: A look at the history of The Granary near Brentwood station
- Credit: Sylvia Kent
This week for our Thursday Throwback, Enjoy Brentwood More’s history columnist, author and vice-president of the Brentwood Writer’s Circle, Sylvia Kent tells us about an old grain mill in Warley
We see constant changes occurring all around us – the Brentwood skyline has altered drastically over the last thirty years. One structure - its facade still intact, but looking very much smarter these days, is the old Cramphorns Grain Mill in Crescent Road near Brentwood Station. This Victorian building – in the very heart of Warley – and now known as The Granary, still remains in many older residents’ childhood memories. When interviewed, some elderly residents could remember skipping on the cobbles in front of the building after the horses and carts had unloaded their sacks for the day. Others recalled the clanking sounds as the enormous sacks of grain were winched up by tackle-chains through the trap doors and the thudding and vibrating of the hammer-mill as it processed the grain and animal feed. The wear marks evident on the wooden steps to the loading bay were testament to the workers who laboriously trod them well over a century ago. Their duties were carried out for more than twelve hours daily shifts with a half day on Saturday.
Many locals can remember Mr Ballard, the manager of Cramphorn’s shop sited on Warley Hill which sold poultry and animal feeds based on the wheat and grain which had been processed on the granary premises, aided by the powerful diesel engine in the back yard. The Cramphorn area office was located above the shop and at one time there was a flat on the third floor which is believed to have been used by one of the directors.
Life inevitably changes and in 1957 the granary ceased its function as a grain store mill. Plans were passed to convert it to a place for the production of printing equipment, but first, a 500-ton harvest load of grain - distributed over its various floors - had to be removed. Despite this, in the autumn of that year, the new owner had to work quickly clearing the building before he begin installing his new equipment in the building and it was re-equipped for the production of lithographic cameras.
Ten years later, the building was sold once again and became part of an office equipment company owned by Mr Keith Boon. These days, this stately Victorian grain mill, now altered within into a very smart set of up-to-the minute modern offices housing a young, modern young staff. The building still retains a fascination for many people and even today a few grains of wheat might just drift down after nestling among the rafters and floor joints as if clinging on to its glorious past.
To learn more about the local history of Brentwood, read Brentwood in 50 Buildings produced by Amberley Books available in the best of Essex’s bookshops, www.amberley-books.com or via Amazon. ISBN 978-1-4456-9213-5.