Frogmore Paper Mill
|Frogmore Paper Mill|
|Owner||The Apsley Paper Trail|
Frogmore Paper Mill is a working paper mill situated in Apsley, Hertfordshire, near Hemel Hempstead. The mill is on an island in the River Gade, which forms part of the Grand Union Canal. It is the oldest mechanical paper mill in the world.
There are no surviving records documenting when a mill was first built on the current site, but it is recorded as being a corn mill in 1086 in the Domesday Book. In 1289, the mill was used for fulling; removing oil and other impurities from woolen cloth. It returned to milling grain, then became a fulling mill once more, then finally it become a paper mill by 1774. The world's first mechanised paper machine was installed at Frogmore Mill in 1803 funded by Sealy and Henry Fourdrinier and engineered by Bryan Donkin, based upon a design by Nicolas-Louis Robert. This machine allowed continuous automated production of paper rolls. Unfortunately the £60,000 costs of developing the paper machines meant that the Fourdrinier brothers were bankrupted by 1810.
For most of the 19th century, the mill was owned by the Grand Junction Canal predecessor of the Grand Union Canal. In 1851, the chemical production of paper from wood (now known as soda pulp), used in newspapers, began at the mill. From 1853 to 1887 the mill was linked to Two Waters Mill, also near Hemel Hempstead. In 1890, the British Paper Company was founded and took over operations at the mill; it fully purchased the premises in 1929.
In 2000 the British Paper Company ceased operations and the Apsley Paper Trail was opened to the public.
The mill is run by The Apsley Paper Trail, a charitable organisation, and operated as a visitor, education and community use centre. Eleven full-time staff are employed at the mill. It has been used for various theatrical productions, including the rock musical Rent.
- "Paper trail to revolution – the history of Frogmore Mill". Hertfordshire Life. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- Cooper 2015, p. 46.
- "First look at RENT at the World's Oldest Papermill". Broadway World. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- "Frogmore Paper Mill". Visit Southeast England. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- "Frogmore Paper Mill". The Aspley Paper Trail. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- Hills 1988, pp. 96–97.
- HALS 1998, pp. 2–3.
- HALS 1998, pp. 5, 8.
- Stanyon, Michael (2022). Following the Paper Trail: In Hertfordshire's Gade Valley. England: APT. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-909851-06-1.
- "Apsley: Historic Frogmore Paper Mill closed after visitor centre fire". BBC. 23 January 2022. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
- "'Future looks bleak' for historic paper mill after planning refusal". Hemel Today. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- "Review of Jonathan Larson's RENT at Frogmore Paper Mill". London Theatre. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- Cooper, John (2015). Hertfordshire's Historic Inland Waterway: Batchworth to Berkhamsted. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 978-1-445-65298-6.
- Hills, Richard Leslie (1988). Papermaking in Britain 1488–1988. Athlone Press. ISBN 978-1-474-24128-1.
- Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (Report). National Archives. December 1998. Retrieved 5 September 2018.