Our Heritage

We can trace our roots back 130 years, to the first Waveney Mill. Our factory opened in 1964, and we are now one of the world’s leading pasta and snack pellet manufacturers.

Waveney Mill was first developed in 1878 by Robert Harvey Clarke as a steam driven flour mill for English wheat, which was delivered to the mill by Norfolk Wherry.

“Clarke’s Waveney Mill occupies an excellent site for milling purposes near Yarmouth Bridge, by the side of the harbour of that ancient port, on the bar of which there are 16 feet of water at neap tides. Ships of 7/800 tons burden can come alongside the mill with grain cargoes. The mill is 80ft x 38ft and 60ft high, comprising six storeys.”

Extracted from The Miller, December 2, 1878

The mill engine was made by Messrs Riches & Watts, Norwich; the wheat cleaning and flour dressing machinery supplied by Whitmore & Binyon of Wickham Market.

The original millstones were replaced by the roller milling system in 1890 and continued in use until 1928. That was the year that the mill was destroyed by a dramatic fire, and was then rebuilt as an electric mill just one year later.

During WWII Great Yarmouth was heavily bombed, largely due to the nearby port and naval base. The mill itself was fortunate enough to avoid further damage during this period, but the mill houses and mill yard both suffered damage.

1945 was an eventful year for RH Clarke Ltd as the directors had decided to sell the mill. A consortium of Hovis and RJ Read of Norwich purchased the mill. In the fullness of time Hovis became Rank Hovis McDougall and then this company was absorbed into RHM, and RH Clarke Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1968.

An exceptionally high tide flooded Yarmouth in January 1953. The offices and houses were flooded to a depth of four feet, and the mill to a depth of two feet.

In 1973 the mill became more closely linked with its biggest customer, Pasta Foods, when the factory was built on the site of the old Great Yarmouth South Town Railway Station. At the same time a new mill was built alongside to supply the increased demands of the new factory, complete with two 1,000-ton wheat silos and four 25 ton bulk offal storage bins.

To supply the needs of the external semolina market a purpose built warehouse and packing plant was erected in 1988, and in August of that year the mill became Pasta Foods Ltd, Waveney Mills.

Today the wheat which we use is shipped to the Port of Great Yarmouth and then transported a short distance by road to the Waveney Mill.