Many are unaware that the village of Apsley, now absorbed into Hemel Hempstead, was a hotbed of ingenuity. The first mechanised paper machine, known as the Fourdrinier, was installed at Frogmore Paper Mill in 1803. Six years later, designed by our local Victorian Industrialist and inventor himself, John Dickinson, the Cylinder Mould Paper Machine, was installed at Apsley Mill. Suddenly the world had machine made paper! It is hard to believe that up until 1803, all we had was handmade paper. There were many other inventions too. The innovations of the Gade Valley, spread throughout the world.
This part of Hertfordshire was home to a string of paper mills, but now only Frogmore remains. The Apsley Paper Trail charity, which manages the site, was formed to preserve this heritage and make it available to all. Since inception, we have offered workshops and tours to visitors, education groups, researchers and paper specialists.
On Saturday 3rd July, we open our doors once more, with a weekend focussed on this local legacy. We will be offering FREE entry to those living in Dacorum. We hope that our local community will come and see what we are all about, hear the stories of the past, former mill employees will come to reminisce and new residents will come to discover what used to be on the land they now live on. We will be offering guided tours of the mill, which will include our new grant funded machine additions and a new exhibition in our gallery. This exhibition entitled, ’Our Paper Past’, will display some of the many photographs, maps and objects relating to how it used to be, in the mills of Two Waters, Frogmore, Apsley, Nash and Home Park.
We hope you will join us. We will be open from 11am until 4pm. Please bring some form of Dacorum resident ID. Please park in Durrant’s Hill Road, pay and display carpark. Our entrance is a five minute walk from there, 2/3rds the way down Fourdrinier Way.
Due to extended Covid 19 restrictions and to ensure our visitors, staff and volunteers stay safe, we will be limiting tours to 6 people or family bubbles. Visitors will be assigned a tour guide on arrival, who take the group around our mill. Tours will be staggered from 11.15am, operating a one way route and to ensure numbers in nay one place do not exceed guidelines. Hand papermaking will be demonstration only. Guides will be wearing clear visors and visitors are requested to bring a face covering. Our NHS QR codes are positioned at the front entrance for you to scan using your app. Hand sanitisers are positioned throughout. And direction markings for the one way system in place.
We look forward to meeting you.
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