3,000 BCE             The oldest known papyrus, a blank scroll found in the tomb of Saqqara, near Cairo.

300                          King Eumenes Il of Pergamum, barred from importing papyrus, builds a library of 200,000 volumes in parchment.

252                          The the oldest piece of paper ever found in Lu Lan, China.

207                          Beginning of the Chinese Han dynasty, in which paper is developed.

30                            Romans conquer Egypt and spread papyrus in the Mediterranean world.

105 CE                   The eunuch Cai Lun of the Chinese Han court is credited with inventing paper.

256                         First known book on paper, the Phi Yu Ching, produced in China

500-600                The Mayans develop bark paper.

610                         Korean monk Dancho, takes papermaking to Japan.

706                         Arabs bring paper to Mecca

751                         Papermaking in Samarkand begins.

1086                      Domesday Book (parchment)– corn mills in operation at Great Gaddesden, Apsley, Bury, Kings Langley, Nash, Piccotts End and Two Waters.

1140                       Papermaking begins in Muslim Spain in Xativa.

1264                      First record of papermaking in Fabriano, Italy.

1282                      First watermark in Fabriano, Italy.

1286 CE                Ashridge Survey – corn mill in operation at Frogmore, also known as Covent or Fulling Mill.

1307                      Paper first used in England

1456                      Gutenberg completes printing his first Bible with moveable type.

1477                      William Caxton opens Britain’s first printing press

1488                      John Tate establishes the first paper mill in England in Hertfordshire. (Sele Mill)

1624                      Sale of Nash Mill by James Fullerton to William Kentish.

1672                      With invention of the Hollander beater, Holland becomes a net exporter rather than importer of fine white paper.

1755                      Batchworth Mill established as making paper.

1757                      John Baskerville publishes a quarto edition of ‘Virgil’ on wove (smooth) paper without laid lines.

1763                      Two Waters Mill established as making paper.

1769                      Nash Mills established for making paper.

1774                      Frogmore Mill first used for papermaking.

1778                     Apsley Mill established for making paper.

1798 CE               Nicolas-Louis Robert applies for a patent for his continuous paper machine, France.

1799                      The Hertfordshire section of the Grand Junction Canal was completed. It continued through to the Midlands by 1801, having started in the South from Brentford.

1801                     John Gamble patents the Robert idea in England.

1803                    Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier lease Frogmore Mill, and engineer Bryan Donkin installs the world’s first mechanised paper machine developed from the Robert idea.

1804                    John Dickinson describes his cylinder mould process in an affidavit five years prior to the patent.

1804                    A second, improved machine was  installed at Frogmore.

1805                    Donkin’s third, refined machine for making paper installed at Two Waters Mill, also owned by the Fourdriniers.

1807                    John Dickinson takes out a patent for improvements to cartridge paper.

1809                   John Dickinson patents his cylinder mould papermaking machine. George Stafford sells Apsley Mill to John Dickinson for its installation.

1810                   Friedrich Koenig invents a steam-powered printer.  Fourdriniers bankrupt.

1811                    John Dickinson purchases Nash Mills.

1818                    Joshua Gilpin builds the first continuous-paper machine in America. The route of the Grand Junction Canal is altered.

1825                   John Dickinson commences building of Home Park Mill.

1829                   John Dickinson commences building of Croxley Mill. John Dickinson takes out a patent for silk-threaded paper, used for security papers and making envelopes.

1830 CE                   New bleaching process makes white paper from coloured rags possible.

1833                         An English patent is granted for making paper from wood.

1836                         John Dickinson begins building at house at Abbots Hill. The house is now Abbots Hill School.

1837                         The railway arrives.

1839                         Miles Berry takes out the first patent for making paper with esparto grass.  Home Park station (now known as Kings Langley station) is built.

1840                        John Evans begins working at Nash Mills.

1847                        Nash Mills school founded by John Dickinson.

1849                        Holy Trinity Church in Leverstock Green, was consecrated. The instigation committee included John Dickinson who also provided funds.

1850                        First envelope machine introduced to John Dickinson & Co by John Evans.

1851                         Hugh Burgess and Charles Watt developed the earliest process, the soda process, for refining wood to make pulp at Frogmore Mill.

1853                        Shendish Manor is built as a residence for Charles Longman.

1856                        Thomas Routledge takes out a patent for the treatment of esparto and other raw fibres. He later works with John Dickinson & Co to establish Ford Works, near Sunderland, to produce esparto paper and half-stuff.

1859                        John Dickinson retires. Charles Longman, Frederick Pratt Barlow, and John Evans are the partners in the firm; John Evans is principally responsible for the manufacturing arm of the business.

1871                         St Mary’s Church, Apsley consecrated. Sponsored by the Directors of John Dickinson & Company.

1877                        Frogmore Mill and Two Waters Mill leased for ten years by John Dickinson & Co to produce pulp from Esparto grass.

1883                       Lewis Evans founds the John Dickinson Fire Brigade.

1885                       John Evans retires, aged 62. Lewis Evans takes over as head of John Dickinson & Co.

1890                       British Paper Company begin manufacture of recycled paper at Frogmore Mill.

1907                       Frogmore Fourdrinier No.2 paper machine installed.

1918                       Explosion destroys buildings at Two Waters Mill; the mill is not rebuilt.

1937                       Opening of Shendish clubhouse and grounds for the Dickinson Guild of Sport and members of the House of Dickinson.

1938                       Apsley Railway Station opened.

1947                       Hemel Hempstead becomes a New Town.

1966 CE                 John Dickinson & Co merge with Robinson Group to form Dickinson Robinson Group (DRG)

1980                       Closure of Home Park Mill and Croxley Mill.

1989                       Pembridge bid breaks up DRG.

1990                       The return of the John Dickinson name, as John Dickinson Stationery inaugurated. SAPPI Europe now owns Nash Mills.

1993                       The Paper Trail set up to promote the history of the paper industry in Apsley.

1999                       Apsley Mill ceases stationery manufacture. Apsley Paper Trail moves into The Cottage at Apsley Mill.

2000                      Closure of British Paper Company at Frogmore Paper Mill.

2006                      Paper manufacture ceases at Nash Mills.  Heritage Lottery Funded Visitor Centre opens.

2009                      Last use of the Frogmore No.2 paper machine. The machine remains on site.

2022                      Fire destroys Visitor Centre on 22nd January.

Go to Top