Rare Books, Recent Acquisitions

Papermaking at Hayle Mill

Some times a book is more than a book. That is the case with one of the latest acquisitions of the Ingalls Library, Papermaking at Hayle Mill 1808 - 1987.  The impressive clamshell cased publication is an historical archive and treasure trove of papermaking history. Hayle Mill, near Maidstone, Kent, was the last industrial handmade-paper mill in commercial operation in Britain. The mill went through several owners until it was bought by John Green in 1817. It was operated continuously by the Green family until its closure in 1987.

Opening the clamshell case you find a hand-bound book chronicling the history of the mill. Next you see a reproduction of an 1856 map of the mills that operated in the Loose Valley in Kent. Unfolding the map you see that 12 mills operated in the two mile area between Tovil and Loose Village. Underneath the map is a folded paper portfolio containing 12 original paper samples with names such as Renaissance, Egyptian Vellum and Bodleian Light Toned. These are the papers used by some of the greatest English artists known, including John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. At the bottom one finds the paper portfolio containing a diagram of the mill and 19 reproduction photographs. Most interestingly, the author puts names to the faces in the pictures. In photo 4, the Rag House in 1921, where Mrs. Brislee and Miss Harrison sort rags. Photo 8 shows us that Arthur Whatmore, with his big bushy moustache, worked as vatman in 1933.

Hayle Mill closed in July 1987, a victim of economic recession. Ironically the last paper made by the mill was called Finale. And it is on this paper that the author chose to print the book. The Mill worked for 179 years to produce papers of the highest quality and Papermaking at Hayle Mill 1808 – 1987 is a fitting accolade to this achievement in word, photographs, paper samples, and construction.  TS1096.H38 G44 2008.