The Apsley Paper Trail
The Apsley Paper Trail (APT) is a conservation and education charity with particular relevance to the paper industry and several local communities in Hertfordshire. Its prime objectives are to conserve the heritage of the paper industry, especially in Hertfordshire’s Gade Valley, and use its facilities for educational purposes. In fulfilling its conservation objective, the charity has acquired and utilises two historic mill sites, one of which was the Frogmore Paper Mill, an active paper mill and visitor centre.’
Frogmore Paper Mill in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire is something quite special, it is the world’s oldest mechanised paper mill, the birthplace of paper’s industrial revolution.
The first mechanised papermaking machine in the world, was placed at Frogmore in 1803. It is a heritage and education centre, within a working paper mill. Interestingly, they still make artisan paper on a 1902 Fourdrinier paper machine and celebrate the huge part Gade Valley Mills played in the development of numerous paper innovations. The second type of paper machine, the Cylinder Mould Machine, invented by John Dickinson was installed at their other site, just 600 metres away at Apsley Mill. Both the Fourdrinier and Cylinder Mould Machines are worldwide industry standard today.
The area boasts many firsts including, the recycling of paper which started at Frogmore in 1890, the inclusion of silk threads into paper which enabled the production of security papers and the creation of the Universal Penny Post and the development of cartridge paper to prevent smoking guns from causing fatalities to those damping them down. This paper helped to save lives and win wars.
Sadly, their Visitor Centre had to be demolished as a consequence of a large fire on 22nd January 2022. This led to the loss of a third of the site. Luckily their archive and working paper machines were spared. While Apsley Paper Trail is fully insured, they have had to create a temporary visitor centre to regain footfall, while they build a new museum.
Moorcroft could not let a fire defeat the charity and Emma agreed to pick up the design mantel, and was utterly delighted to find that the mill sits peacefully on an island in the River Gade, which forms part of the Grand Union Canal, while rare bee orchids caught the designer’s eyes, with shimmering amethyst hues.
"The Apsley Paper Trail is delighted that Moorcroft Pottery are using their expertise in ceramics, to support the recovery of Frogmore Paper Mill. It is something truly special to have the mill immortalised in the rich glazes of the piece, which depicts our beater house and annual show of bee orchids. We hope others will enjoy this limited edition, collector's piece and be reminded that Frogmore Mill is the site of the world's first mechanised paper machine in 1803." Sue Woolnough, Education and Design Manager, Frogmore Mill.
We hope that when it is restored, you will be able to visit The Frogmore Paper Mill. For now, please do look at their website - www.frogmorepapermill.org.uk
The Apsley Paper Trail. Charity number 1079008