Thomas Allinson set up his first flour mill in 1892, intent on providing bakers with wholesome, high quality ingredients.
Allinson was something of a pioneer, passionately encouraging people to eat well and to enjoy the simple, healthy things in life. This philosophy is still at the heart of what we hold dear today.
A STORY OF PASSION
The story begins with a Victorian doctor named Thomas Richard Allinson. Born in 1858 near Manchester, he qualified in medicine at the age of just 21.
Dr Allinson took a keen interest in nutrition and adopted Naturopathy, a form of medicine that avoids drugs and encourages the consumption of natural foods. His ideas also became known as ‘hygienic’ or ‘Allinsonian’ medicine. He went on to establish a practice in London, through which he promoted healthy eating the benefits of wholemeal flour in bread.
However, in those days such views were extremely radical and were to set him on a collision course with the medical establishment. The Royal College of Physicians doubted his theories and in 1892 he was struck off the medical register. But he wouldn’t let that stop him pursuing his interest. After all, he didn’t need to be a doctor to make bread.
Ever since the industrial revolution nearly all flour was produced using roller mills. This refined the flour to such a degree that valuable nutrients and fibre were lost. Convinced of the value of whole wheat, Allinson purchased his own stone-grinding flour mill in Bethnal Green, London. He then set up The Natural Food Company under the slogan ‘Health without medicine’, and began baking bread his way.
THE ALLINSON BRAND
The nutritional value of wholemeal bread was finally accepted by the Government during the First World War, when Allinson was in his 50s. He was even offered reinstatement to the General Medical Council. However he turned it down. After all, he’d found a new outlet for his ideas on nutrition.
With official acceptance that wholemeal was good for the nation’s health, demand for Allinson’s flours increased dramatically, and his company continued to expand after his death in 1918. Further Allinson flour mills were soon opened in Newport, Monmouthshire and Castleford, Yorkshire.
His legacy, the Allinson brand, became a byword for wholesome high-quality flour, which in turn produces wholesome, tasty and nutritious bread. This still remains so to this day.