Yesterday, St. Albans Youth Court sentenced two youths from Hemel Hempstead for arson in relation to a fire at Frogmore Paper Mill in January 2022. The boys, aged 15, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and have been given a 12 month referral order.

Elena Lewendon, CEO of The Apsley Paper Trail Trust said;

‘We lost heritage that day that can never be replaced. The fire destroyed our museum, gallery, café, shop and the spaces used by schools and community groups. All of our education equipment and materials were lost, taking away our ability to tell our story. The emotional impact on our staff and volunteers has been devastating but their amazing response and resilience over the past year has been extraordinary. The Trust would like to thank Herts Fire and Rescue Service for their swift response on the night of the fire that saved the oldest part of the mill and many of our historic machines from being lost forever. Special thanks are also due to the team of police officers and detectives who worked so hard to make sure those responsible were brought to justice’.

The Trust would also like to thank everyone who has donated time, money and equipment since the fire. We have made lots of progress but still need to raise £50k to start work on our plans to create a pop-up museum, shop, café and event space. This will allow us to start guided tours again so people can enjoy exploring Frogmore once more. Our long term goal is to work with our communities to design and develop a new museum that will be hands on, interactive and environmentally friendly. It will connect people with the rich history of innovation, invention and discovery that Hemel Hempstead and the wider Gade Valley is famous for, bringing together and inspiring our communities, our audiences and future generations.

Contact: Elena Lewendon


Notes to editors.

The Apsley Paper Trail Trust is a registered charity committed to creating a sustainable future for the world’s oldest mechanised paper mill and the birthplace of paper’s industrial revolution. In 1803 the first Fourdrinier Paper Machine was installed at Frogmore Mill, a world changing invention which led to the communication and education revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1809, the burgeoning paper industry in Apsley brought a second paper machine to the world, the Cylinder Mould Machine. This could incorporate silk threads within the paper, creating the world’s first security papers which had an immeasurable impact on postal and banking systems globally. Today, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers work hard to conserve and protect a number of Grade II listed buildings, a historic water wheel, early paper machines, printing presses, artefacts and archives relating to the history of paper making and John Dickinson. Dickinson was a stationer and inventor with 38 patents to his name whose company grew to become the primary employer in Apsley, making it the paper capital of the world. This has had a profound impact on the shared memories and collective cultural identity of the Gade Valley.

Before the fire, Frogmore offered a diverse programme of events, educational courses and activities for all ages and abilities. Now, the Education Team are running outreach events, talks, lectures and school visits whilst the site is closed. Find out more by contacting

Artisanal paper makers continue to operate historic machinery, preserving unique skills that are on the red list of heritage crafts at risk of extinction. A beautiful selection of high quality recycled papers, included live seed paper, are produced. The proceeds of paper sales support the Trust. Find out more by emailing

Our recovery can be supported by donating here.