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Situated in Apsley, a suburb of Hemel Hempstead, Frogmore Mill became the birthplace of paper's Industrial Revolution in 1803 when the first of what later became known as a Fourdrinier Paper machine was installed and operated here.
Now operated by the Apsley Paper Trail charitable trust, paper is still made here on a 110 year-old machine.
With a purpose built visitor centre, the site is open for visitors to learn about the history of paper and print, see paper being made, make their own sheet of paper and do lots of other exciting and interesting things. While visiting, you can also pop into the cafe for tea and cakes and browse in the mill shop.
For further details call 01442 234600.
The day we visited it was only my friend Ann and I on the Paper Tour, so we had the full attention of the very knowledgeable tour guide. It was right up our street as we both studied graphic design, so get excited about paper and typesetting, we had to know our paper and typefaces at Art College.
The tour starts with a demonstration of hand made paper then you are invited to make your own sheet, sprinkled with an inclusion of pulped £5 notes.
There's still a small scale paper making machine on the site, run as a viable business. At the time we visited they were making a special paper for a micro-brewery, the Darwin brewery in Sunderland, crushed hop flowers were being sprinkled into the paper pulp.
Don't expect a clinical museum it's unashamedly an authentic industrial building run with the help of enthusiastic volunteers. The tour takes around 1 - 1 1/2 hours, we found it all very interesting, by the end of the tour our handmade paper was dry and ready to take home. Before we left we had tea and cake in the cafe, over looking the canal, and bought paper from the mill shop.
The Paper Trail's own ferry, the Bryan Donkin, can provide trips along the River Gade and Grand Union Canal during the warmer days of the year. Short trips between Frogmore and Apsley are occasionally available for visitors to the mill on special event days during the summer months.
Currently we can organise mill tours which include a boat trip to and from the mill. Visitors will assemble at the Apsley Mills site and be brought to Frogmore Mill by the ferry boat (this takes about 15 minutes). After a tour of the mill, the group will be returned by boat to Apsley Mills.
The Paper Trail also run adult art and leisure courses, obviously paper making but also bookbinding, calligraphy, paper jewellery, batik, silk painting, life drawing and more just check their website for more information
I have just seen on the website, it is free this weekend as there is a Water Festival with lots of free activites!
Sunday 27 May 2012
DACORUM GRAND WATER FESTIVAL
FREE for all the family!
Frogmore Paper Mill
from 11.00am to 4.00pm
Free Arts & Crafts - papermaking, letterpress printing, canal art & more. Free paper mill Tour. See the Heritage Fire Engine, the shop, cafe & BBQ.
Parking in Durrants Hill Road car park (pay & display).
Free Ferry Boat service between Apsley and Frogmore