Record Details

NHER Number:51706
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of the Thetford Paper Mill and the Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co (later Thetford Moulded Products)

Summary

This is the site of one of the Thetford Paper Mill following its enlargement in the first decade of the 19th century (see NHER 5931 for the earlier mill on the site). The site covered 3.5-4 acres, incorporating the land to the north previously known as Small Bridges Common as well as a large plot of land fronting Mill Lane. In 1869 the mill began to carry out hat-felting and from 1873 to 1879 hats, paper and pulp products were produced here by Charles Vickers and Co. (later Vickers and Knowles). This business failed in 1879 and the Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co. was subsequently established, making Pulp Ware by steam engine as well as water. The last true Pulp Ware was produced in the 1950's, but by this time the company had already begun to switch to plastics and fibreglass for making injection-moulded products. By 1961, the company had changed its name to Thetford Moulded Products and it had complety converted to the production of plastics. The company moved its premises to Howlett Way in 1990 and is now known as Centurion Safety Products. The former buildings have been demolished and residences have been constructed on the site.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 87014 82683
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co. and Thetford Moulded Products.

Origins of the Mill (see NHER 5931).
A mill has been situated at this location since the Late Saxon period. Originally the site of a cloth mill which was converted to produce paper in the 17th century. Paper production continued throughout the 18th and 19th century, when the site was known as Bishop's Mill or St Audrey's Mill (see NHER 5931).
In the first decade of the 19th century the Thetford Paper Mill was enlarged, covering 3.5-4 acres and incorporating the land to the north previously known as Small Bridges Common as well as land fronting Mill Lane. In 1869 the mill began to carry out hat-felting and from 1873 to 1879 hats, paper and pulp products were produced here by the Charles Vickers and Co. (later Vickers and Knowles).
See (S1) and (S2) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 August 2008.

1879. Establishment of the Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co.
The Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co. was established here in 1879 in what at that time was said to be a fulling mill, converted to paper making. In 1875 Vickers and Knowles had tried unsuccessfully to make pulp hats here. Pulp ware was then made by steam engine as well as water. The mill (NHER 5931) burnt in 1897 and was rebuilt in part with a Gilkes 30hp water turbine which worked until about 1958 when Paxman diesels were inserted. The last true pulp ware was produced in the 1950's, but by this time the company had already begun to switch to plastics and fibregalss for making injection-moulded products.
See (S3).
E. Rose (NAU) 20 November 1984.
See (S2) for further details.
E. Rose (NAU).

1961. Change of name to Thetford Moulded Products.
The Thetford Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co. changed its name to Thetford Moulded Products in 1961 when it complety converted to the production of plastics. The company moved its premises to Howlett Way in 1990 and is now known as Centurion Safety Products.
See (S1) and (S2) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 16 July 2008.

1985. Site Visit.
A visit to the factory in 1985 noted that although remnants of the 1897 factory could be easily recognised, the majority has been lost to major rebuilding which took place in the 1930's and 1950's. The open garden space depicted on the OS First Edition Town map (S4) has disappeared under recent extensions. The majority of the original machinery is gone, but some shaft lining can still be traced. One 1897 water turbine remains in its original position on the Little Ouse and an overhead travelling crane remains in the old embossing room (now the engineers workshop).
See (S1) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 July 2008.

1995.
Extensive restoration work is to be carried out at the mill (see NHER 5931).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 July 2008.

1999.
An unique 1879 Burrell travelling crane from this factory was given to the Burrell Museum, Thetford.
See (S5) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA) 31 March 1999.

Monument Types

  • PULP MILL (19th Century to Mid 20th Century - 1879 AD to 1955 AD?)
  • PLASTICS FACTORY (Mid 20th Century to Late 20th Century - 1961 AD to 1990 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 721.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Article in Serial: Goodwin, C.. 1985. Thetford Pulp Ware IN Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society Journal.. Vol 3, No 5, Pp 164-9. Pp 164-169.
<S2>Website: Neville, J.. 2004. Thetford Mill, River Thet. http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk/Watermills/thetford.html. 17 July 2008.
<S3>Serial: November 198. NIAS Newsletter.
<S4>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1883. Ordnance Survey Town Map: Thetford. 50 inch to 1 mile.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Engineer's crane is back on its travels. 31 March.

Related records

5931Related to: Former Bishop's Mill or St Audrey's Mill and site of early cloth mill (Monument)
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