Robert Fletcher & Sons Paper Mill, Oldham, UK

Robert Fletchers Paper Mill, Oldham

Robert Fletcher's and Son's was a paper mill in Oldham. The mill closed down over night 13 years ago and everything has been left how it was.

Visited January 2015  UK Greenfield, Oldham, UK Derelict

History of the abandoned Fletcher’s Paper Mill

The history of Robert Fletcher & sons paper mill dates back to the industrial revolution. The company was once owned by Ralph Crompton and Nephews, producers and bleachers of paper. Their first mill was located in Stoneclough, Manchester.

The death of the Crompton brothers left the mill ownerless and the succession was offered to Robert Fletcher, the mill’s manager at the time. Fletcher had risen through the ranks, to first become the manager of the bleaching department and later the whole mill. [1]

Following Fletcher’s death on 17th May 1865, his sons John and James took over. They in turn passed down the mill to their sons, also named John and James. In 1897 the mill was incorporated as a limited company.

In 1921 a second mill opened, located at Greenfield, near Oldham. The mill specialised in the production of cigarette paper and at its height employed 1000 people to run seven paper machines. These machines produced only a fraction of the paper the later, much larger machines could produce. Upon closure the mill had three machines – two very similar lines from 19XX and a huge modern 1996 addition. [2]

By 1986 the company was making a loss and was purchased by the Melton Medes Conglomerate who turned the company around and started to make a profit once again. However by 2001 the company was once again failing and the decision was made to close the Stoneclough Mill. Some people were transferred to the Greenfield mill, but the company could not sustain the increasing loses and was forced into receivership. The mill was closed down overnight.

The mill at Stoneclough has been demolished. To this day the mill at Greenfield still remains how it was the day it closed. Streams of paper remain inside the machines, connected to the rolls of finished product at the end of the production lines – a time capsule from a bygone era.

Paper starts off as wood pulp – the raw material

Fletchers Paper Mill - Wood pulp bails
Fletchers Paper Mill – Wood pulp bails
Fletchers Paper Mill - Pulp is fed into machines
Fletchers Paper Mill – Pulp is fed into machines
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Pulp is then distributed
Fletchers Paper Mill – Pulp is then distributed
Fletchers Paper Mill - Machines mash up and bleach the pulp
Fletchers Paper Mill – Machines mash up and bleach the pulp
Fletchers Paper Mill - Pulp mashing machine
Fletchers Paper Mill – Pulp mashing machine
Fletchers Paper Mill - Pulp masher
Fletchers Paper Mill – Pulp masher
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Machines
Fletchers Paper Mill – Machines
Fletchers Paper Mill - Machines for processing wood pulp
Fletchers Paper Mill – Machines for processing wood pulp
Fletchers Paper Mill - Office area rotting away
Fletchers Paper Mill – Office area rotting away
Fletchers Paper Mill - Laboratory
Fletchers Paper Mill – Laboratory
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Laboratory
Fletchers Paper Mill – Laboratory

Rolling machines

Fletchers Paper Mill - One of the large rolling machines
Fletchers Paper Mill – One of the large rolling machines
Fletchers Paper Mill - Part of the rolling machines
Fletchers Paper Mill – Part of the rolling machines
Fletchers Paper Mill - Rolling machine
Fletchers Paper Mill – Rolling machine
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Rolling machine
Fletchers Paper Mill – Rolling machine
Fletchers Paper Mill - Large roller drum at the top of the machine
Fletchers Paper Mill – Large roller drum at the top of the machine
Fletchers Paper Mill - Side view
Fletchers Paper Mill – Side view
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Top view
Fletchers Paper Mill – Top view
Fletchers Paper Mill - Rollers from the front
Fletchers Paper Mill – Rollers from the front
Fletchers Paper Mill - Top of rollers
Fletchers Paper Mill – Top of rollers
Fletchers Paper Mill - Pressure guages
Fletchers Paper Mill – Pressure guages
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Controls
Fletchers Paper Mill – Controls
Fletchers Paper Mill - Computer control
Fletchers Paper Mill – Computer control
Fletchers Paper Mill - Roller and small control panel
Fletchers Paper Mill – Roller and small control panel

Spooling Machines

Fletchers Paper Mill - The finished paper is put onto rolls
Fletchers Paper Mill – The finished paper is put onto rolls
Fletchers Paper Mill - Finishing department
Fletchers Paper Mill – Finishing department
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Machine in finishing department
Fletchers Paper Mill – Machine in finishing department
Fletchers Paper Mill - The finished product, rolls of paper
Fletchers Paper Mill – The finished product, rolls of paper
Fletchers Paper Mill - Roller and cutter
Fletchers Paper Mill – Roller and cutter
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Packing Office
Fletchers Paper Mill – Packing Office

Offices and Staff Areas

Fletchers Paper Mill - Staff canteen
Fletchers Paper Mill – Staff canteen
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Cluttered office
Fletchers Paper Mill – Cluttered office
Fletchers Paper Mill - Photos in a drawer of a computer desk
Fletchers Paper Mill – Photos in a drawer of a computer desk
Fletchers Paper Mill - Design room
Fletchers Paper Mill – Design room
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Blueprints
Fletchers Paper Mill – Blueprints

Newer machine room

Fletchers Paper Mill - A large milling machine was added more recently
Fletchers Paper Mill – A large milling machine was added more recently
Fletchers Paper Mill - New rollers
Fletchers Paper Mill – New rollers
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Guages
Fletchers Paper Mill – Guages
Fletchers Paper Mill - Larger more modern machinery
Fletchers Paper Mill – Larger more modern machinery
Fletchers Paper Mill - Control station
Fletchers Paper Mill – Control station
Fletchers Paper Mill - Giant roll of cigarette paper
Fletchers Paper Mill – Giant roll of cigarette paper
 
Fletchers Paper Mill - Control machines
Fletchers Paper Mill – Control machines
Fletchers Paper Mill - Rollers
Fletchers Paper Mill – Rollers

References

1. Source: http://theviewfromthenorth.org/robert-fletchers-oldham
2. Source: http://robertfletcherpapermill.weebly.com/

Author: Andy Kay | Facebook | Flickr | Instagram

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