Carrs Flour Mills is celebrating 175 years in the business by opening a £500,000 brown flour blending plant.

MD Duncan Monroe told British Baker that increased sales of wholemeal and brown bread had prompted the investment. "It gives us better quality wholemeal and brown flours, and also enables us to add ingredients such as bran with a greater degree of accuracy, which is what customers want.

"It won’t result in huge growth for the business as we’re pretty busy anyway, but our product mix will better reflect what’s happening out there in the supermarkets and craft bakeries."

The company celebrated its anniversary by inviting 800 guests, including staff, former employees and consumers, to a range of events at its Carlisle base, where they had the chance to look around the 1904 steam engine which used to drive the mill.

The business was founded in 1831 by Jonathan Dodgson Carr who set up the flour mills and Carrs Water Table Biscuits (since bought by United Biscuits).

Said Monroe: "A lot of planning went into the events and we were keen to involve former staff - we think he would have approved."