Charity giant ‘Mighty Miller’ celebrated in his home city

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HE was known by his competitors as the “Mighty Miller of Hull”, the man who bought white flour to the masses.

The life and achievements of Joseph Rank, who built a business empire from his home city, are being celebrated in a new display which opens on Thursday at the Streetlife museum.

The display, which looks out over the river towards Clarence Flour Mills, where Rank introduced his revolutionary milling process, includes replicas of a windmill and the Freedom of the City he was presented in 1935 – the only honour he ever accepted. A committed Methodist who had an evangelical conversion, and at one stage the richest man in England, he gave a large proportion of his wealth to good causes.

In Hull, one fund continues to give grants to those in need, while in London The Joseph Rank Trust, which funded the display, hands out some £2.4m annually. Assistant curator of Hull musuems, Tom Goulder, said: “He told his Methodist Minister he would die a poor man – and by his standards he did.”

Rank’s son, the film-maker 
J Arthur Rank is better known, but John Netherwood, of Hull Civic Society which commissioned the display, said he should be remembered as the man “who kept grain flowing into the country in the war when we were effectively besieged”.