The existence of corn mills in Ivybridge can be traced back centuries but here we focus on what locals knew as Lee’s Mill, a flour and later provender mill, located just off Fore Street.
By the early nineteenth century the corn mill in the centre of Ivybridge had ceased to be owned by a miller and was leased to the Devonport Union Society, with the site becoming known as Union Mills. These societies arose from co-operative production schemes to provide flour more cheaply than a local miller. Each shareholder was permitted to take a weekly allowance of flour or bread relevant to their shareholding.
Sharing the same site was Ivybridge Paper Mills, belonging to Francis and Henry Holman, However, unlike Stowford Paper Mills, this mill produced ‘thin browns’ and ‘sugar papers’. These wrapping papers would have been made from poor quality rags, old ropes, netting and canvas. By the beginning of the twentieth century this paper mill had closed. The Holman paper making business operating from their other mill located at Lee Mill, just a few miles away.