I visited the Tullis Russell paper mill in 2009, as a permission visit during their 200th anniversary, and they seemed to be doing very well – it was a very busy mill, lots of modern machinery, and apparently lots of orders. But only a few years later it collapsed and the mill closed in 2015. The last thing they did was launch a project to replace the old but beautifully maintained coal power plant with a modern biomass plant – where that stands there used to be a whole lot more, including some giant steampunk rag boilers. That plant was built and is now operating, but the mill next door is derelict. All the paper machines have been sold off and removed. Continue reading
I’ve visited this lovely paper mill several times since just after it closed in 2009, and the decline has been both sad and interesting to see – the change from a fully working modern paper mill to a stripped-out shell has been amazingly quick.
One part that hasn’t changed at all is the B-listed power house:
Mugiemoss closed in 2005, with the loss of 250 jobs – the mill was outdated by more modern mills. The site is now used by a trucking firm, so there are trailers all over the place and some buildings are still in use – the lights are still on in a lot of it as well.
First, into the giant hall for Machine 5:
Ho hum – another Sunday morning, another Fife paper mill 😉
Smith Anderson & Co had been making paper at it’s Fettykill (or perhaps Fettykil) mill since 1859. From the start, the company specialised in paper bags and packaging – Charles Anderson himself invented an automated paper bag making machine.
In 2006, the papermaking business went into receivership – the parent company still makes packaging, but they don’t make their own paper any more, so the Fettykill mill stands empty. It had been the only Scottish mill which used purely recycled paper – no virgin pulp.
To start with, I was a bit worried that things had been all stripped out.
Tullis Russell is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary this year, and it’s still going strong – in fact it’s just about to build a brand new 50-megawatt biopower power station. To celebrate both these events, they held a series of open evenings – tours around the fully operational paper mill.
I’ve seen a reasonable number of paper mills, from fully gutted ones to ones turned off the week before, but there’s something completely different about a working mill – it’s alive, not dead, and full of heat noise, and hundreds of people in hi-viz vests 😉
This drum chops the fibres, making them bind together better – the device on the left is a series of centrifugal filters to remove dirt from the pulp: