Papermaking in Lincolnshire 1600-1900

Hugh Nott Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology

The Chinese first developed papermaking in about AD100 but the process did not reach Europe until the twelfth century and the first paper mill in England is not recorded until 1495.  The development of printing stimulated the demand for paper and by 1700 there were 100 paper mills in England.  Here in Lincolnshire there were paper mills at Tealby, Leasingham, Louth, Grantham (Houghton), Barrow on Humber and West Deeping.  The main requirement was a river with enough energy to power a water mill to pulp the rags that were the papermaker's raw material.

The papermaking industry in Lincolnshire lasted for about 200 years but by 1830 competition from mechanised paper mills overwhelmed the local producers.  Today, the remains of their mills and drying sheds have virtually disappeared without trace.

Hugh Nott outlines the processes involved in traditional papermaking and then examines all the known sites in the county, commenting in detail on the families of the papermakers.  His book has brought together a collection of evidence including site plans, photographs, watermarks and documents that have not previously been published.

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