Guardbridge Paper Mill III

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:


I even did one of my panaorama exploramajigs:

Click here to explore – it should open in Quicktime…

Next into an electrical control room, which had stacks and stacks of plans.

Carrying on through the mill, the decay is everywhere – like all paper mills, though, it’s still got loads of fantastic fire doors (I’ve got a thing for big red steel fire doors).

The halls which used to hold the massive paper machines are now stripped and the machines have gone East.

The same area, in an old photograph left in a staff room:

I’m easily amused:

11 Responses

  1. Nice set Ben. Its a shame to see something crumble over the years and consecutive visits but unfortunately inevitable.

    The little powerstation looks interesting – nice pipes and the like.

  2. Its a real shame to see the mill in this state… considering the bustling business portrayed in the book published to mark 100 years of continuous papermaking. Any idea where the paper machines got sold to? There would have been three (I think) as machines one, two and three were shut to make way for newer machines. Ben, any chance of getting me some of those plansand pictures? I have a thing for old technical drawings and industrial history šŸ™‚

    1. The books are sad, yes – I’ve got another one from Carrongrove which is even more recent, and looks forwards to another century of paper making – a few years later, the mill is completely gone and there’s a housing development there.

      At least one machine went to Egypt as far as I know – there were also parts labelled for Sri Lanka.

      I can’t get you anything, I’m afraid – it’d be theft to take anything from here (or anywhere). I think RCAHMS have been collecting stuff, hopefully they will be able to rescue the paperwork…

      1. No 3 and No 4 Machines went to Chhatak in Bangladesh.
        No 5 went to Egypt and No 6 to India.
        SHM1700 Sheeter is in Peru.

  3. I was brought up in Guardbridge from 1969 until I left to go to college in 1982. Whilst my father worked in the mill, I only once went into the building and remember nothing about it apart from the unforgettable smell. A sweet but sinus clearing aroma of wood pulp and bleach. Something that the camera cannot catch……unfortunately.
    My father, it seems with a foresight, knew that the mill was not the place for his young boy to find a career so steered me away from this local employers arms. A decision for which I am, with hindsight, grateful.
    I do however have memories of the remains of the Seggie Siding, the railway that served the mill, but they are vague, as I was only 4 years old and the line had been closed earlier that year (1969). But those memories haunt me and if you have any access to persons with photos or memories of this aspect of the mill operations I would be very interested in hearing their stories.

  4. Additionally, the Victorian / Edwardian Mill that my father steered me away from still stands…mostly…, whereas the “White heat of technology” building that was the London Air Traffic Control Centre (LATCC) in West Drayton, built in the 1960’s, where I started my career, is now rubble, awaiting redevelopment into a “Urban Village”!
    Transient buildings indeed…….

  5. The book I mentioned has some photos of the rail line – I could scan them if you’re interested. There’s an aerial view from 1968 as well…

  6. Fantastic series of photographs, Ben! I was brought up in Guardbridge whilst my dad was based at RAF Leuchars, 20years on I’m studying towards my masters in architecture across in Dundee and looking at the redevelopment of the Mill site as part of my thesis project this year.

    I have looked for the above books, but without any luck. Any ideas of the title/author, or indeed where I could find them? Many Thanks.

  7. The book I’ve got is “One Hundred Years of Papermaking” by Lorna Weatherill, printed in 1974. I got mine from Abebooks I think.

  8. The St. Andrews art club was gifted paper by the mill for many years, quality stuff…it is missed. Great set of photos, thanks.

Leave a Reply to Mark Blundell Cancel reply