Looking back at Dripps Mill – marking the 160th anniversary

Stock on the move at Dripps Mills in 1897.
Stock on the move at Dripps Mills in 1897.

Just over 160 years ago, on March 8, 1858, an advertisement appeared in the Glasgow Herald announcing the death of William Burns, the miller at Dripps Mill in Waterfoot.

It lead to the laird, Patrick Graham Barnes, seeking a new miller.

William Alexander, then employed at the large Washington Street Grain Mills in Glasgow, applied.

He was successful and, on Friday, April 16, 1858, he signed a lease on Dripps Mill and the firm known today as Alexanders Town and Country was founded.

This year marks the firm’s 160th anniversary

The firm’s history falls into three distinct phases.

In the first 60 years the business met the needs of the local farming community, providing a milling service and the supply of animal feed.

The firm was also millers of oatmeal and pease meal.

This was an era of water powered machinery, feeding packed in hessian sacks, carried on men’s backs and transported by horse and cart.

The firm prospered and around 1880 Dripps Mill was substantially enlarged.

The First World War saw the first change of direction.

Dripps Mill was increased in size and the horses and carts were replaced with motor lorries.

For the next 40 years the main focus was the manufacture and sale of animal feeding to local farmers.

By the 1960s, the business was beginning to change again. As Glasgow and East Kilbride expanded, the number and importance of local farms diminished.

Slowly the demand for animal feeding moved from agricultural to equestrian and leisure related customers.

Today at Dripps Mill, Alexanders operate a thriving country store specialising in equestrian, farm and pet merchandise and supplying a customer base throughout West / Central Scotland.

Long gone, but still cherished, is the era of the horse and cart, replaced instead with busy fork lifts and articulated trucks.

Over two thousand lines of feeding and associated items are held at the Mill assuring customers of a huge choice.

The firm is run by direct descendants (5th generation) of the original William Alexander.

Anne Alexander, who heads the business, said: “Throughout our history Alexanders have aimed to provide quality and service to our customers and that has been the cornerstone of our long business success.

“I am pleased and proud to say that remains our ethos and that of all our staff today.”