Guardbridge Paper Mill

The mill at Guardbridge, near Leuchars, has been producing paper since 1873, when William Haig (of the Haig whisky) converted a distillery site to paper manufacture. The mill was originally a general paper producer, but lattery it specialised in security papers used for financial and official documents.

The worsening economic situation has hit all the Scottish paper manuafacturers hard – see my previous reports from the Inverkeithing and Carrongrove mills – and Curtis fared no better, going into administration in July 2008. The site is currently in the hands of KPMG, who are slowly selling off the equipment, but almost everything remains for the moment. It’s a great chance to see a mix of modern and antique mill equipment.

First up, the boiler house:

Inside, three lovely Thompson boilers:

The control panel is very similar to Carrongrove’s:

Higher up, a rather unnerving walkway gives an excellent view of the plant from above:

The walkway leads to the fueling hoist – coal would have been stored in the pit on the left, and hoisted up to be dropped nto hoppers under the steel plates on the right:

Out of the power plant, and onto the mill itself – first, some huge rollers in a storage shed, which look like they’re going overseas:

Then ink mixing drums and pumps:

With a soundproofed control room:

An ink mixing thingy:

Arty ink pot shot:

And lots of cool pipework:

Then onto the paper machine halls:

The machines have just been turned off – everything is still live:

Confusingly, the machines I found were labelled 4, 5 and 6 – I didn’t find 1, 2 and 3, and I can’t even work out where they were:

An old picture on the wall next to machine no. 6:

Onto a series of connected storage sheds – now mostly empty of stock:

Though still with some beautiful massive clocks:

If you’re a fan of antique fire doors (like me) this place is wonderful:

At the far end, there’s a staircase – this is nearest the security post, and it’s near here I played a fun game of “hide from the footsteps”:

Heading back to the modern packaging department:

Wrapping turntables:

One carton of paper sits on the conveyor:

An antique barrow:

The fire control post is a mix of old:

And new:

There’s some nice old lab gear:

And another view of the mill – just after this, I met the security guard, who showed me out…

Some panoramas:

I went back for a later visit in Feb. 2010 to see how the mill was getting on…

Watch a full-screen slideshow, or browse the full image collection:

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