the Mill was built
This map shows why Crabble Corn Mill was built in 1812. Just 30km away across the Straits of Dover was the threat of the French Empire, with 50 m out of the 175 m inhabitants of Europe, ruled by the Emperor Napoleon.
In 1795 Napoleon had been put in charge of a Grand Army to invade England. Camped in Boulogne, thousands of troops had trained and prepared invasion barges; while on the Kent coast thousands of English soldiers were franticly strengthening fortifications and training new recruits.
1n 1805, Nelson's victory at Trafalgar made Napoleon realise that the English Navy was too strong in the Channel for a French invasion to succeed at that time. His Grand Army was withdrawn from Boulogne to fight elsewhere in central Europe.
Instead, in 1806 he organised a boycott of trade with England, called the "Continental System". The aim was to starve Britain and ruin its industries. All of Europe controlled by France had to join in. At that time, England's growing population relied on a lot of imported wheat grain, especially from Poland and Germany. Although the hills of England were ploughed up to grow more wheat, the price of grain and flour soared because of the boycott and the shortages it caused. Near harvest time in 1812, when last year's supplies were running out, there were food riots in many towns. Bakers, grain merchants, and some millers were accused of profiteering - hoarding grain to drive up the price still more.
With big profits to be made, especially on government contracts to supply flour to the army and navy, it is not surprising that businessmen rushed to build more and bigger mills. Crabble Corn Mill in Dover was one of them.
When it opened in 1812, Napoleon was about to be defeated at the gates of Moscow, followed by a disastrous retreat when he lost much of his army in the cruel Russian winter.
When the French Empire was finally defeated at
in 1815, many things in Europe changed - including the market for
grain and flour. Crabble Corn Mill never saw such easy profits
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