Stowford Paper Mill

Part 2 – The Modern era

In 1924 the mills were sold to Messrs. Portals of Laverstoke and the business was re-named Portals (John Allen & Sons) Ltd. Portals were well respected paper manufacturers and supplier of banknote paper to the Bank of England. They were entering a phase of expansion following the award of contracts to supply postal order paper, pension and allowance paper and postage stamp paper. Stowford Paper Mill was identified as a prime location for the manufacturing of these new orders.

Stowford Paper Mill

Part 2 – The Modern era

In 1924 the mills were sold to Messrs. Portals of Laverstoke and the business was re-named Portals (John Allen & Sons) Ltd. Portals were well respected paper manufacturers and supplier of banknote paper to the Bank of England. They were entering a phase of expansion following the award of contracts to supply postal order paper, pension and allowance paper and postage stamp paper. Stowford Paper Mill was identified as a prime location for the manufacturing of these new orders.

Working conditions greatly improved and Portals introduced some of their own branded papers including Wykeham Bond. This paper incorporated a watermark which included the Portal family insignia of a gateway (portal). This symbol was later to be adopted in many other paper grades.

Portcullis

In 1930, after a re-evaluation of the business, Portals decided that their future lay in the further expansion of their core banknote business and sold many of the mills they had only recently acquired. Stowford Mill along with Roughways and Chartham were sold to Wiggins Teape (1919) Limited.

Portals brief 6-year involvement accounts for the notion within the local community that banknotes were made in Ivybridge. However, there is no evidence of the mill ever making UK banknotes, although there was a brief participation in the provision of low denomination foreign currency.

The manufacturing of so called ‘security papers’ was the real legacy left by Portals. As well as those initial products introduced in the 1920s, this category includes cheques and other financial transaction documents, identity papers, exam certificates, title deeds, vehicle registration documents and vouchers. Over the coming decades this business sector was to become extremely important to the success of the mill.

Wiggins Teape’s practice at the time was to keep the original business names, so Stowford Mill was still known as Portals (John Allen & Sons) until 1968 and for this reason the mill remained to be called simply ‘Portals’.

 

The Portals tag extended to the various sports teams which were established when Portals Athletic Club was formed in the 1920s. Portals Cricket team operated in the United Churches League during the 30s whilst the highly successful Portals Athletic Football Club went on to win all the local trophies in one season in 1965.

Working conditions greatly improved and Portals introduced some of their own branded papers including Wykeham Bond. This paper incorporated a watermark which included the Portal family insignia of a gateway (portal). This symbol was later to be adopted in many other paper grades.

 

In 1930, after a re-evaluation of the business, Portals decided that their future lay in the further expansion of their core banknote business and sold many of the mills they had only recently acquired. Stowford Mill along with Roughways and Chartham were sold to Wiggins Teape (1919) Limited.

Portals brief 6-year involvement accounts for the notion within the local community that banknotes were made in Ivybridge. However, there is no evidence of the mill ever making UK banknotes, although there was a brief participation in the provision of low denomination foreign currency.

 

The manufacturing of so called ‘security papers’ was the real legacy left by Portals. As well as those initial products introduced in the 1920s, this category includes cheques and other financial transaction documents, identity papers, exam certificates, title deeds, vehicle registration documents and vouchers. Over the coming decades this business sector was to become extremely important to the success of the mill.

Wiggins Teape’s practice at the time was to keep the original business names, so Stowford Mill was still known as Portals (John Allen & Sons) until 1968 and for this reason the mill remained to be called simply ‘Portals’.

 

The Portals tag extended to the various sports teams which were established when Portals Athletic Club was formed in the 1920s. Portals Cricket team operated in the United Churches League during the 30s whilst the highly successful Portals Athletic Football Club went on to win all the local trophies in one season in 1965.

WTlgos

Under Wiggins Teape the mill flourished. This company was a long-established specialist paper manufacturer with origins dating back to 1761 when it started as a paper merchanting company in London. Wiggins Teape was well placed in the domestic market with strategically located sales offices, supported by several paper merchants. Additionally, the company had a well-established overseas sales network. Access to the export market would prove invaluable in the decades ahead, complementing the existing domestic contracts for stamp, pension and postal order paper.

 

Like Portals before them, Wiggins Teape introduced many of their brands to Ivybridge. Over the years Stowford Mill became the specialist in watermarked stationery and many products were transferred from other mills within the group. Watermarks included Abermill Bond, Bond of England, Conqueor, Cranston Ledger, Desmond Bond, Heralds Loan, Kent Vale Parchment, Malling Valley Parchment, Original Chartham Mills, T & J Hollingworth, Wembley Bond and Wylverly Parchment to name but a few.

Beater

A beater processing stock for the papermachine

PM21949

Papermachine No.2 in 1949

Beater

A beater processing stock for the papermachine

PM21949

Papermachine No.2 in 1949

No More Ivybridge Smog !

In June 1954 Ivybridge residents who for years had complained of coal smoke from Stowford Paper Mill chimney were glad to know that the mill had switched over to oil fuel eliminating the nuisance of billowing black smoke.

During the last week in January 1957 Stowford Mill recorded the highest week’s production for normal time working when the mill turned out 81.25 tons of paper ( equating to 72.5 tons saleable paper following conversion ).

By the late 1950s the use of rags was becoming more and more problematic due in part to the growing use of synthetic fibres in textiles. The processing of rags also had a detrimental impact of the mill’s effluent. In 1962, a Paterson sedimentation plant was installed to alleviate the issues of the waste water but this was only able to remove solid matter. Despite other improvements to the process the use of rags was finally discontinued in the early 1970s and replaced by cotton linters, a by-product of the cotton industry, or oil mills to be exact, as linters are the fine hairs formed around the cotton seeds and removed before crushing for oil extraction.

Learn more about rag processing at Stowford Mill >
Rag Sorting in 1949
Loading rags into the boiler
Beating Process
Pulperman with stock
Beaterman at work
The Reel Up in 1949

The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA), the regional film archive for the South West of England, holds a very interesting short film originally shown on Westward Television in 1962. This film, entitled Stowford Paper Mill 1962, gives an insight to paper manufacturing from this time and can be viewed on BFI Player, which forms part of the British Film Institute’s National Archive.

Stowford Paper Mill – 1950s

Paper Making - A Brief Explanation

FPM

The Paper Machine receives the prepared stock (cellulose fibres, minerals and other additives), diluted at this stage to less than 1% solids, via the Headbox where it flows on to the wire section in a controlled manner. Water is immediately removed by natural drainage and controlled suction. The sheet of paper starts to form by the intermeshing and bonding of the fibres. The forming paper is further closed up by the fine wire mesh of the dandy roll which carries the watermark design.

 

The partially dried paper then passes onto the dryer felt via the couch roll and enters a press section where water is physically squeezed out.

 

The paper then passes through hollow, steam-heated drying cylinders, supported on dryer felts, in order to evaporate remaining moisture.

 

Before drying is completed, the paper passes through a size bath where both surfaces receive a coating of starch solution (historically gelatine), to seal the surfaces. It then passes through a second series of heated cylinders (after dryers) before entering, chilled iron, calendar rolls to smooth the surface of the paper. It is then wound on jumbo machine reels for conversion to either smaller reels or sheets as required.

In 1969 work began on the construction of the much-needed warehouse to store finished paper products. It was sited alongside the existing finishing department to facilitate the flow of paper through to the despatch area. Once completed, it was a welcomed addition to the site and permitted efficient loading of vehicles with finished paper. The summer production shut-down of 1970 witnessed the installation of a new After Dryer section on No.3 Paper Machine. An annual period of two weeks around the end of July was traditionally the only time when the mill closed, apart from Christmas, so was always an intensive period for engineering and maintenance activities.

During the mid 1970s Stowford Mill suffered frequent order shortages and a new radical approach was required to its business strategy as well as improvements to the equipment employed. The mill had a proven track record for working flexibly and it was felt that the greatest chance of success would be to develop this and focus on market segments which included small orders of a specialist and bespoke type. Its security paper business remained relatively strong, but it would be necessary to develop new features to remain ahead of the counterfeiter and forger and to distinguish itself from the competition.

 

With a robust plan in place, attention shifted to the modernisation of the mill and the provision of state-of-the-art equipment and control systems. Initial changes occurred in 1975-76 with a new precision sheet cutter whilst in 1977-78, the roofs to the machine houses were replaced. Around the same time a new gatehouse was built along with modifications to the main entrance. A major investment occurred in 1980 when a new combined heat and power plant was sanctioned, which was later commissioned on 19 June 1981. This replaced the old Lancashire boilers installed in 1949 and a turbine installed in 1937. The project marked a significant change in the capital investment strategy at the mill, ending the cycle of low investment which had historically inhibited profitability and process improvement.

CHPswitchon

The system installed was based on the principle of raising steam needed for the paper making process and passing it through a turbine to generate power before going on to the paper drying systems in the mill. The Mayor of Ivybridge, Councillor Michael Jewers, opened the new CHP plant in an official ceremony. The new system which cost £400,000 included a steam turbo alternator which would provide one third of the mill’s electricity and was expected to reduce the site’s energy bill by around £100,000 each year.

The 1980s heralded a period of major investment at the Stowford Paper Mill site. Within the next decade around £3 million would be spent on modernising the mill. This capital investment was aimed at enhancing product quality, reducing energy consumption and raw material usage as well as increasing production capacity. These improvements saw output rise by around 1500 tonnes to a total annual quantity of 8000 tonnes, with further gains planned as the mill moved into the 1990s.

On 9 September 1987, Stowford Paper Mill celebrated its Bicentenary, 200 years of continuous operation on the site located beside the River Erme. The mill was once the town’s largest local employer and therefore this special event was of interest to the wider community.

 

 

 

 

 

The event was marked by a special production run of prestige paper, bearing a watermark of the mill’s 200th anniversary logo. The paper was made into writing sets, serving as gifts for visitors to the events. The paper was typical of the mill’s output of the time and matched paper from Wiggins Teape’s Conqueror range, the leading business stationery brand.

The Bicentenary celebrations occurred at a time of major modernisation to the finishing department. In 1988 a new sheeter was commissioned, a second was soon to follow. These precision machines converted reels of paper produced on the paper machines, to suitable sheets required by the client. They were supplied by the Pasaban Company based in Tolosa, near San Sebastien in Spain and were designed specifically for Stowford Paper Mill. Further enhancements to the Finishing Department included new handling equipment for the guillotines and humidity control for the whole area.

The 1980s heralded a period of major investment at the Stowford Paper Mill site. Within the next decade around £3 million would be spent on modernising the mill. This capital investment was aimed at enhancing product quality, reducing energy consumption and raw material usage as well as increasing production capacity. These improvements saw output rise by around 1500 tonnes to a total annual quantity of 8000 tonnes, with further gains planned as the mill moved into the 1990s.

On 9 September 1987, Stowford Paper Mill celebrated its Bicentenary, 200 years of continuous operation on the site located beside the River Erme. The mill was once the town’s largest local employer and therefore this special event was of interest to the wider community.

 

The event was marked by a special production run of prestige paper, bearing a watermark of the mill’s 200th anniversary logo. The paper was made into writing sets, serving as gifts for visitors to the events. The paper was typical of the mill’s output of the time and matched paper from Wiggins Teape’s Conqueror range, the leading business stationery brand.

The Bicentenary celebrations occurred at a time of major modernisation to the finishing department. In 1988 a new sheeter was commissioned, a second was soon to follow. These precision machines converted reels of paper produced on the paper machines, to suitable sheets required by the client. They were supplied by the Pasaban Company based in Tolosa, near San Sebastien in Spain and were designed specifically for Stowford Paper Mill. Further enhancements to the Finishing Department included new handling equipment for the guillotines and humidity control for the whole area.

With the mill’s dependence on small bespoke paper orders, new innovations were developed to provide watermarks more economically. This resulted in the creation of a ‘sleeve dandy’ negating the need for a dedicated cylindrical body for each different watermark. This lower cost development opened the door to more small-volume business where customers could have their own watermark design at reasonable cost and in quantities as small as 1 tonne.

In 1991 Wiggins Teape merged with the French paper corporation Arjomari Prioux. This was a move designed to bring synergies between the two successful paper making groups through economies of scale, and the mill once again re-focused on the security paper market. Whilst Arjomari had paper mills of their own in this specialist security paper field, the new security sales and marketing team of ArjoWiggins based in Paris, managed to allocate the business between the mills to the benefit of all. This last chapter in the history of the paper mill proved to be a very successful one and a lasting ‘entente cordiale ‘was established.

 

Further infrastructure enhancements continued to be funded. A new water purification plant was installed in 1993 to lessen the impact of the mill on the river. Secondary and tertiary effluent treatment stages were added to remove soluble organic materials and improve water quality and supplement the previous process. The tertiary biological reactor facilitated aerobic treatment of the waste water. Naturally occurring bacteria were encouraged to thrive in an oxygen-rich environment in order to consume dissolved solids like starches which found their way into the mill waste water.

Further investment included new equipment for the paper machines, namely modern headboxes to control paper grammage more precisely and a new A4 packaging line to automatically pack paper in cardboard cartons.

 

As the mill entered the new Millennium all seemed well with a relatively strong order book and a wider range of security features for its products. This, however, was in stark contrast to the business stationery market. The widespread use of computers and electronic communication was eroding demand of paper stationery products, creating over-capacity in the paper industry which needed redress.

In 2012 it was announced that Stowford Mill would close. A decline in the Printings and Writings business had created sufficient capacity at Stoneywood Mill, another mill with the ArjoWiggins group based in Aberdeen, to permit the production portfolio of Ivybridge to be transferred and made successfully there.

 

Amongst the last production runs at Ivybridge was a batch of specially watermarked stationery commemorating the mill’s two centuries of paper making. Although similar to the watermark designed in 1987 to commemorate the Bicentenary, this new watermark image incorporated a tonal representation of the mill and ivy bridge, together with the dates 1787 – 2013. Each employee was presented with a special gift box of A5 stationery and matching envelopes as a lasting memento of their services to the mill. The dandy roll bearing this historic watermark embossing was kindly donated to the Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group and now resides upstairs at The Watermark.

In 2012 it was announced that Stowford Mill would close. A decline in the Printings and Writings business had created sufficient capacity at Stoneywood Mill, another mill with the ArjoWiggins group based in Aberdeen, to permit the production portfolio of Ivybridge to be transferred and made successfully there.

 

Amongst the last production runs at Ivybridge was a batch of specially watermarked stationery commemorating the mill’s two centuries of paper making. Although similar to the watermark designed in 1987 to commemorate the Bicentenary, this new watermark image incorporated a tonal representation of the mill and ivy bridge, together with the dates 1787 – 2013. Each employee was presented with a special gift box of A5 stationery and matching envelopes as a lasting memento of their services to the mill. The dandy roll bearing this historic watermark embossing was kindly donated to the Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group and now resides upstairs at The Watermark.

The last reel of paper

On the 21st November 2013, the very last reel of paper came off Paper Machine No.2, thus bringing paper manufacturing in Ivybridge to an end after 226 years of activity.

Over this period it has been estimated that the mill produced close to a million tonnes of paper and employed thousands of people. Due to the efforts of the employees and focus on producing speciality papers it survived long after many similar mills had closed.

 

The last few employees vacated Stowford Paper Mill in early 2014 after overseeing the decommissioning of the site.

The last reel of paper

On the 21st November 2013, the very last reel of paper came off Paper Machine No.2, thus bringing paper manufacturing in Ivybridge to an end after 226 years of activity.

Over this period it has been estimated that the mill produced close to a million tonnes of paper and employed thousands of people. Due to the efforts of the employees and focus on producing speciality papers it survived long after many similar mills had closed.

 

The last few employees vacated Stowford Paper Mill in early 2014 after overseeing the decommissioning of the site.

Does the content on this page evoke memories at Stowford Paper Mill?

We would be very happy to receive any stories related to the paper mill to add to our archives. Please contact us at info@ivybridge-heritage.org

STOWFORD PAPER MILL

Part 2 The Modern Era

In 1924 the mills were sold to Messrs. Portals of Laverstoke and the business was re-named Portals (John Allen & Sons) Ltd. Portals were well respected paper manufacturers and supplier of banknote paper to the Bank of England. They were entering a phase of expansion following the award of contracts to supply postal order paper, pension and allowance paper and postage stamp paper. Stowford Paper Mill was identified as a prime location for the manufacturing of these new orders.

 

Working conditions greatly improved and Portals introduced some of their own branded papers including Wykeham Bond. This paper incorporated a watermark which included the Portal family insignia of a gateway (portal). This symbol was later to be adopted in many other paper grades.

 

In 1930, after a re-evaluation of the business, Portals decided that their future lay in the further expansion of their core banknote business and sold many of the mills they had only recently acquired. Stowford Mill along with Roughways and Chartham were sold to Wiggins Teape (1919) Limited.

 

Portals brief 6-year involvement accounts for the notion within the local community that banknotes were made in Ivybridge. However, there is no evidence of the mill ever making UK banknotes, although there was a brief participation in the provision of low denomination foreign currency.

 

The manufacturing of so called ‘security papers’ was the real legacy left by Portals. As well as those initial products introduced in the 1920s, this category includes cheques and other financial transaction documents, identity papers, exam certificates, title deeds, vehicle registration documents and vouchers. Over the coming decades this business sector was to become extremely important to the success of the mill.
Wiggins Teape’s practice at the time was to keep the original business names, so Stowford Mill was still known as Portals (John Allen & Sons) until 1968 and for this reason the mill remained to be called simply ‘Portals’.

 

The Portals tag extended to the various sports teams which were established when Portals Athletic Club was formed in the 1920s. Portals Cricket team operated in the United Churches League during the 30s whilst the highly successful Portals Athletic Football Club went on to win all the local trophies in one season in 1965.
Under Wiggins Teape the mill flourished. This company was a long-established specialist paper manufacturer with origins dating back to 1761 when it started as a paper merchanting company in London. Wiggins Teape was well placed in the domestic market with strategically located sales offices, supported by several paper merchants. Additionally, the company had a well-established overseas sales network. Access to the export market would prove invaluable in the decades ahead, complementing the existing domestic contracts for stamp, pension and postal order paper.

 

Like Portals before them, Wiggins Teape introduced many of their brands to Ivybridge. Over the years Stowford Mill became the specialist in watermarked stationery and many products were transferred from other mills within the group. Watermarks included Abermill Bond, Bond of England, Conqueor, Cranston Ledger, Desmond Bond, Heralds Loan, Kent Vale Parchment, Malling Valley Parchment, Original Chartham Mills, T & J Hollingworth, Wembley Bond and Wylverly Parchment to name but a few.

 

In June 1954 Ivybridge residents who for years had complained of coal smoke from Stowford Paper Mill chimney were glad to know that the mill had switched over to oil fuel eliminating the nuisance of billowing black smoke.

 

During the last week in January 1957 Stowford Mill recorded the highest week’s production for normal time working when the mill turned out 81.25 tons of paper (equating to 72.5 tons saleable paper following conversion).

 

By the late 1950s the use of rags was becoming more and more problematic due in part to the growing use of synthetic fibres in textiles. The processing of rags also had a detrimental impact of the mill’s effluent. In 1962, a Paterson sedimentation plant was installed to alleviate the issues of the waste water but this was only able to remove solid matter. Despite other improvements to the process the use of rags was finally discontinued in the early 1970s and replaced by cotton linters, a by-product of the cotton industry, or oil mills to be exact, as linters are the fine hairs formed around the cotton seeds and removed before crushing for oil extraction.

 

In 1969 work began on the construction of the much-needed warehouse to store finished paper products. It was sited alongside the existing finishing department to facilitate the flow of paper through to the despatch area. Once completed, it was a welcomed addition to the site and permitted efficient loading of vehicles with finished paper. The summer production shut-down of 1970 witnessed the installation of a new After Dryer section on No.3 Paper Machine. An annual period of two weeks around the end of July was traditionally the only time when the mill closed, apart from Christmas, so was always an intensive period for engineering and maintenance activities.
During the mid 1970s Stowford Mill suffered frequent order shortages and a new radical approach was required to its business strategy as well as improvements to the equipment employed. The mill had a proven track record for working flexibly and it was felt that the greatest chance of success would be to develop this and focus on market segments which included small orders of a specialist and bespoke type. Its security paper business remained relatively strong, but it would be necessary to develop new features to remain ahead of the counterfeiter and forger and to distinguish itself from the competition.

 

With a robust plan in place, attention shifted to the modernisation of the mill and the provision of state-of-the-art equipment and control systems. Initial changes occurred in 1975-76 with a new precision sheet cutter whilst in 1977-78, the roofs to the machine houses were replaced. Around the same time a new gatehouse was built along with modifications to the main entrance. A major investment occurred in 1980 when a new combined heat and power plant was sanctioned, which was later commissioned on 19 June 1981. This replaced the old Lancashire boilers installed in 1949 and a turbine installed in 1937. The project marked a significant change in the capital investment strategy at the mill, ending the cycle of low investment which had historically inhibited profitability and process improvement.

 

The system installed was based on the principle of raising steam needed for the paper making process and passing it through a turbine to generate power before going on to the paper drying systems in the mill. The Mayor of Ivybridge, Councillor Michael Jewers, opened the new CHP plant in an official ceremony. The new system which cost £400,000 included a steam turbo alternator which would provide one third of the mill’s electricity and was expected to reduce the site’s energy bill by around £100,000 each year.

 

The 1980s heralded a period of major investment at the Stowford Paper Mill site. Within the next decade around £3 million would be spent on modernising the mill. This capital investment was aimed at enhancing product quality, reducing energy consumption and raw material usage as well as increasing production capacity. These improvements saw output rise by around 1500 tonnes to a total annual quantity of 8000 tonnes, with further gains planned as the mill moved into the 1990s.

 

On 9 September 1987, Stowford Paper Mill celebrated its Bicentenary, 200 years of continuous operation on the site located beside the River Erme. The mill was once the town’s largest local employer and therefore this special event was of interest to the wider community.
The event was marked by a special production run of prestige paper, bearing a watermark of the mill’s 200th anniversary logo. The paper was made into writing sets, serving as gifts for visitors to the events. The paper was typical of the mill’s output of the time and matched paper from Wiggins Teape’s Conqueror range, the leading business stationery brand.

 

The Bicentenary celebrations occurred at a time of major modernisation to the finishing department. In 1988 a new sheeter was commissioned, a second was soon to follow. These precision machines converted reels of paper produced on the paper machines, to suitable sheets required by the client. They were supplied by the Pasaban Company based in Tolosa, near San Sebastien in Spain and were designed specifically for Stowford Paper Mill. Further enhancements to the Finishing Department included new handling equipment for the guillotines and humidity control for the whole area.
With the mill’s dependence on small bespoke paper orders, new innovations were developed to provide watermarks more economically. This resulted in the creation of a ‘sleeve dandy’ negating the need for a dedicated cylindrical body for each different watermark. This lower cost development opened the door to more small-volume business where customers could have their own watermark design at reasonable cost and in quantities as small as 1 tonne.

 

In 1991 Wiggins Teape merged with the French paper corporation Arjomari Prioux. This was a move designed to bring synergies between the two successful paper making groups through economies of scale, and the mill once again re-focused on the security paper market. Whilst Arjomari had paper mills of their own in this specialist security paper field, the new security sales and marketing team of ArjoWiggins based in Paris, managed to allocate the business between the mills to the benefit of all. This last chapter in the history of the paper mill proved to be a very successful one and a lasting ‘entente cordiale ‘was established.

 

Further infrastructure enhancements continued to be funded. A new water purification plant was installed in 1993 to lessen the impact of the mill on the river. Secondary and tertiary effluent treatment stages were added to remove soluble organic materials and improve water quality and supplement the previous process. The tertiary biological reactor facilitated aerobic treatment of the waste water. Naturally occurring bacteria were encouraged to thrive in an oxygen-rich environment in order to consume dissolved solids like starches which found their way into the mill waste water.
Further investment included new equipment for the paper machines, namely modern headboxes to control paper grammage more precisely and a new A4 packaging line to automatically pack paper in cardboard cartons.

 

As the mill entered the new Millennium all seemed well with a relatively strong order book and a wider range of security features for its products. This, however, was in stark contrast to the business stationery market. The widespread use of computers and electronic communication was eroding demand of paper stationery products, creating over-capacity in the paper industry which needed redress.

 

In 2012 it was announced that Stowford Mill would close. A decline in the Printings and Writings business had created sufficient capacity at Stoneywood Mill, another mill with the ArjoWiggins group based in Aberdeen, to permit the production portfolio of Ivybridge to be transferred and made successfully there.
Amongst the last production runs at Ivybridge was a batch of specially watermarked stationery commemorating the mill’s two centuries of paper making. Although similar to the watermark designed in 1987 to commemorate the Bicentenary, this new watermark image incorporated a tonal representation of the mill and ivy bridge, together with the dates 1787 – 2013. Each employee was presented with a special gift box of A5 stationery and matching envelopes as a lasting memento of their services to the mill. The dandy roll bearing this historic watermark embossing was kindly donated to the Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group and now resides upstairs at The Watermark.

The last reel of paper

On the 21st November 2013, the very last reel of paper came off Paper Machine No.2, thus bringing paper manufacturing in Ivybridge to an end after 226 years of activity.
Over this period it has been estimated that the mill produced close to a million tonnes of paper and employed thousands of people. Due to the efforts of the employees and focus on producing speciality papers it survived long after many similar mills had closed.

 

The last few employees vacated Stowford Paper Mill in early 2014 after overseeing the decommissioning of the site.