Buckland Mill

Dover, Kent, UK

Newspaper cuttings for Crabble Mill

  • 24 January 1896 - CRABBLE PAPER MILL - Councillor Lewis asked if it had been  fully understood the Messers, Wiggin Teape offered to give up the whole of the site of the old paper mills at Crabble for £1,000.

The Mayor said that the committee did not see their way to spend the money, and the subsequent offer of a piece of land which would be sufficient for their purposes had been accepted.

Councillor Thorpe subsequently asked that a coloured plan should be brought up by the Surveyor next week, showing the land offered, because he thought if it was of any extent it would pay them to obtain it and dispose of it afterwards for building sites.

Alderman Peake remarked that the committee did not feel disposed to enter upon the matter as a speculation.

The Mayor pointed out that the authorities laying out the Crabble Cricket Ground proposed to widen the road at the point in question, and that would, wit the piece they obtained, be amply sufficient.

The coloured plan was ordered to be brought up next week.

  • 14 February 1896 - ROAD IMPROVEMENT AT CRABBLE - The Mayor reported that Mr. Councillor Thorpe, who had deputed to see the Managing Directors of Messers, Wiggins Teape and Co, with regard to the widening on the Lower Road near the bridge at Crabble, had seen the Managing Director, who met them very cordially, and after consideration they made an offer of £500 for the land for widening, on condition that a small strip on the bank of the river should be left in the hands of Messers, Wiggins, Teape and Co for the purposes of planting it with shrubs, they agreeing not to build anything over the river at that spot.

Several members expressed the opinion that these terms were very satisfactory, and that the improvement was greatly needed.

On the motion of Councillor Lewis, the report of the deputation was approved, and their action confirmed.

  • 26 June 1896 - NEW BUILDINGS - ............. Notice of intention to build four cottages at Crabble Paper Mills, was received from Messers, Wiggins Teape and Co.

  • 17 July 1896 - NEW BUILDINGS -  The plans by Messers, Wiggins, Teape for a new road at Crabble, 18 feet wide, were allowed, as the road was under 100 feet in length.  The plans for the four cottages were also approved.

  • 11 March 1898 - CRABBLE ROAD WIDENING - The following was read by the Surveyor:

"In accordance with your instructions I beg to submit a plan and sections of the widening of the road from the improvements recently carried out to the Borough boundary.

"It is proposes to widen the road by filling in a portion of the river and construction of retaining wall to divert the stream through a portion of Messers Wiggins, Teape & Co's property, for which purpose it will be necessary to clean out the disused watercourse as shown on the plan.  It is proposed to extend the footpath on the south side of the road as far as the Borough boundary.  The width of the road between the kerbs will be 25 ft, and the footpath 5 ft.  I have consulted the mill owner effected by the widening, and they make no objection.  Messers Wiggins, Teape & Co are prepared to allow the corporation to carry out the widening, and will give permission to divert the stream through the old watercourse, which is their property, on condition that the corporation give up the surplus land coloured on the plan to Messers Wiggins Teape & Co, and construct a retaining wall surmounted by an iron fence along the portion of the roadway which is to be widened.  Messers Wiggins, Teape & Co undertake to erect a suitable iron fence around the piece of land coloured green, and to maintain the same as a shrubbery, and not build on it.  If the Committee agree to these conditions, and approve of the widening as shown, I shall be glad of instructions to prepare the same"

In reply Councillor Burkett the Surveyor said he had estimated the cost at about £350 besides giving up the land.

The Mayor enquired if the money was included in the estimates.

The Surveyor said it was not, he presumed it would be obtained by means of a load.

The Mayor asked what the plan was the result of.

The Surveyor replied that someone thought there would be no harm in him making a report.

Councillor Burkett: They thought you had not enough to do.

Councillor Thorpe pointed out the pity it would be to sell the land so that cottages could be erected on it.

Alderman Peake said that if the proposal was carried out, it would spoil one of the prettiest walks in Dover.

Councillor Thorpe remarked that it certainly would, if the scheme was carried out in its entirety.  He thought that the matter would be remitted to the Surveyor to shadow out something better.

The Surveyor said that Mr Hobday would only consent to the work as reported on, although he had pointed out to him the objections to narrowing the river.

Councillor Burkett pointed out that there was very little traffic on the road. Since it had been taken over they had already spent £1,000 on it was proposed to spend another £500.  He hardly thought the game worth the candle.

It was decided eventually to allow the plans to stand over for a fortnight, and the surveyor to see Messers Wiggins, Teape and Co in the mean time.

  • 27 May 1898 - MESSERS WIGGINS, TEAPE AND CO - Application was received by Messers  Wiggins, Teape & Co of Buckland Paper Mills to run their waste liquid from the Crabble Mill into the drain.  In 1891 permission was given for the waste liquid from Buckland Mills to be turned into the sewer, and That was no longer required as all that kind of work was done at Crabble.

The Surveyor recommended that the application should be granted.  It was preferable to allowing the liquid to go into the river.

  • 28 October 1898 - CRABBLE ROAD - An agreement with Messers Wiggins, Teape and Co in regard of the plot at the corner of Crabble Bridge was brought up and confirmed.

Alderman Adock explained that the plot would be handed over to Messers Wiggins, Teape & Co, who would agree to keep it planted with shrubs.  On the east side of the river the fence would be set back, so that the road above the mills could at any time in the future time be widened an equal width by altering the bend of the stream.  It was however proposed to do nothing at present except to set the fence back.

  • 2 Dec 1898 - Messers Wiggins, Teape and Co gave notice of intention to erect a new warehouse at Crabble.

  • 13 July 1906 - GREAT MILL FIRE -

Crabble Paper Mill Burnt Down

Exciting scenes

Photographs of the scene

One of the most disastrous fires that has occurred in this locality took place at Crabble near Dover, on Tuesday, when a large portion of the valuable and largely newly-constructed Paper Mill of Messers, Wiggins, Teape and Co was burnt down.  This mill, as many of our readers know, is situated on the side of Lower Rad, River, at the foot of the hill where the tram passes towards the upper end of the Athletic Grounds, and being in a hollow, very little of the conflagration was seen from Dover.

The Crabble Mill is  a very old establishment, and an interesting history.  It was a vat mill before the introduction of papermaking by machinery; and this was the first mill in the  in the District into which a papermaking machine was introduced, having been set up about the same time as the one in Hertford, those two being supposed to be the earliest in the kingdom.  It is not know who originally established it, but it was Messers William Phipps who introduced the machine, nearly a hundred years ago.  In Horne's guide to Dover, published 1819, the machine was mentioned thus "At Crabble is an extensive paper mill, the property of Messers W Phipps and Sons, in which there is a curious patent machine for making paper, which is capable of making a sheet of paper of any length whatever".  Mr Radford Evans, in his Recollections of River says " Mr William Phipps was the first introducer of machines for paper making, and I was told that the identical at Crabble Mills, of which I had charge for some years, was the second paper machine erected in England, the first being claimed by Dickenson's at their water mill in Hertfordshire".  The Crabble Mill since it passed into the hands of Messers Wiggins and Teape, has been largely reconstructed, and is now simply used for preparation of rags for the Larger Mill at Buckland


The fire was first discovered about five minutes to one.  The employees who consist mainly of 120 girls, who are engaged in rag sorting and preparation, and had had been at dinner about half an hour.  They dine in a room called the dining hall, at the Dover end of the works, and so far as can be ascertained, some of these, who gone out on the green at the back of the Mill, saw smoke arising from the centre building, in which the rags are sorted and in which are situated the rag bins.  The alarm was promptly raised, and men who are engaged at the mill at once commenced to cope with the outbreak.  The fire was then in the centre of the building.


The Works consist of three long buildings.  The first on the bank of the river, is the rag boiler house and is built of brick, and has an upper floor.  On the railway side of this is the rag sorting room with the rag bins.  This is built with bricks sides and iron galvanised roof.  Still nearer the railway is the rag store, in which about 120 tons of rags in bales were stored, the building being galvanised iron,  the two latter buildings being about 100 yards long.  At the end of the two latter buildings is the rag dusting shed.  In this shed the new machinery had been fitted up, and had only started the previous day.  Close to this building, and between the London road, adjoining the road, were the stables, and just on the river side the steam boiler house.  As we stated the fire was in the centre of the rag sorting house, and the first thing done was to order women to form a chain to hand along buckets of water.  They are frequently practiced at this, and they promptly obeyed the orders, and water was passed rapidly to the scene of the outbreak.  But the room was filled with rags, most inflammable, and wooden bins, and the buckets wee useless.  In three minutes those in charge had to give the


word to desist, and everyone to clear out.  So rapidly did the flames spread, that the last man was nearly caught out by them.  It is stated that the women worked hard, pluckily and with great courage.  After they had cleared out, they became more excited, and had to be prevented from going into the sheds to save their clothing that had been deposited there.  Meanwhile the Police had been informed of the outbreak, by telephone message from Buckland Mill, which they imagined was the scene of the fire.  On the way the the hose reel at Buckland Fire Station (Union Road) was obtained, but on going further it was found it was Crabble Mill not Buckland Mill that was alight.  There is a standing order that when a fire occurs at Crabble, the fire engine shall be at once sent there, as there is not enough pressure of water in the hydrants at that place to put out a fire.  The fire engine was at once


sent for, when the scene of the fire was ascertained.  On arriving at the Mill, the Police found the Mill hands had fixed two standpipes with their own fire hose, and were playing the water on the flames, although the pressure was feeble.  The Police at once fixed up their stand pipe in Lower Road.  The Pressure was very slight, the water only just spouting out.  The centre building was then well alight in the centre, and the fire was spreading rapidly.  The Mill authorities informed the Police that they wanted the rag boiler house and the rag dusting room, in which the new machinery was, and the steam boiler to be saved, and asked them to direct their attention to these.  If at this time there had been good pressure, it is quite possible that this may have been done, although the construction of the buildings in which the fire was made this somewhat difficult.  The buildings were all roofed with corrugated iron, and the fire was unable to get through.  It is well known that if a fire breaks through the roof it does not spread, but it could not do so in this case, and consequently, the only vent way was to spread along these long buildings, which it did with tremendous rapidity.  The difficulty in regard to the pressure of water is due to the fact that owing to the height of


Crabble compared with the reservoirs at the Waterworks, the only way of getting a strong pressure at Crabble is by cutting off the rest of the town, and concentrating the pressure on that position.  The turncock was informed directly the outbreak occurred, but in order to concentrate the pressure, it is necessary to shut seven or eight valves at three or four different localities extending from Maison Dieu Road to Priory Street.  This was done as promptly as possible, but until it was accomplished, very little could be done to confining the fire.  The Police received the alarm at 1.5; the Brigade arrive at the fire within 20 minutes, which, considering over a mile and a half had to be covered, was not bad.  At 1.45 the fire engine arrived from Queen Street, a mile and three quarters distance, and about the same time as the full pressure of water was obtained.  By that time the fire had extended the whole of the rag sorting building, had reached the rag stores, and set alight the rag dusting room, whilst the floor of the  boiler house was on fire.  But the stables and steam boiler house, which were close to the long building, had ben saved by the tremendous of the Police, the mill hands, and other assistance.  The saving of the boiler house was a great accomplishment, as it was


feared that if this building, which was very near to the main outbreak, were to catch fire, the boilers would explode.  Directly the engine arrived, it was put to work on the



The fatal accident of a young girl worker at CrabbleMill, which occurred last week, was investigated by the Borough Coroner (Mr Sydenian Payn) on Friday Afternoon, at the Town Hall, Mr C Gosnald being the the foreman of the jury, Mr PO A Heath, H.M. Inspector of Factories, was also present.

Mr T B Harby, solicitor, appeared to represent Messers Wiggins, Teape and Co, Ltd, on on their behalf, expressed their deep regret that the incident should have occurred.

Mrs Charlotte Elizabeth Lyus, wife of Mr Walter J Lyus, of 6 Brook St, said that the deceased was her daughter, Winnifred Mary Lyus, aged 16 years on May 13th next.  She was an employee at Crabble Rag Mill, and she left home on Tuesday at about 6.30a.m.  Witness was called to the Hospital at about 2.30p.m.  The deceased was conscious and spoke, but did not say anything about the accident.  In the evening, at 8.30 p.m., the deceased was unconscious, and when witness went again at 1 a.m. her daughter was dead.  She had been at the mill about seven months.

Olive Chambers of 37 Crabble Hill, who was warned by the Coroner that she was not obliged to give evidence unless she chose, but elected to do so, said:  I have worked for three years this April at the  Crabble Rag Mill.  The accident happened between 10.30 and 11 a.m. on Tuesday last.  I was there assisting the deceased to take the rags from the bags and put them on a travelling felt band which carried them up aloft.  If there was anything not rags we had to put it on one side.  I came across a piece of rope quite ten or eleven feet long, and it took out of the bag and threw it on one side.  Mary (the deceased) said something to me, I cannot remember what, and I took up one end of the rope and flung it over my head.  I had no object in doing so.  Directly afterwards I saw Mary going up the band.  I clung hold of her, but as I could not pull her away I let go.  She was drawn right up to the shaft, which is about 8ft up.  I called out, and the machinery was shut off.  The deceased was drawn right over.  Mr Dovey, the foreman, was sent for, and he came, and the deceased fell down from the shaft into his arms.

The Coroner: Did the rope you threw hit her? - Not to my knowledge.  It was all in a lump when I picked it up, but in the throwing came loose.  I do not know if it hit her, but directly afterwards she was taken up.  witness added that she meant to hit her as a joke.

In reply to the inspector, witness said that she had never seen anyone tie a rope around the body and throw it over the shafting with the idea of travelling over it, nor had she seen a sack sent over in that way.  H M Factory Inspector: You have been warned not to play in the mill? - Yes; by Mr Dovey and Mr Pelham.  What made him warn you? - Not me especially, but when he has found us play about.  Did the deceased tie the rope around herself? - I never said it was on her.  Was not the rope around her when you threw it? - Not to my knowledge.  Did you tell Mr Hobday that it was thrown over the shaft, and that it had been done before, and that the girl had tied it round herself to have a swing? - I deny it. 

In reply to Mr Harby, witness said that she was 23 years, and the deceased nearly 16.  The deceased was dressed in the ordinary way.

In reply to the foreman, the Factory Inspector said that the ceiling was about 3ft above the shaft.

Laban Rogers, a warehouseman at Crabble Mill, said:  On Tuesday morning I was in part of the mill where the accident happened, helping to put rags on the felt.  I was working at the next sack of rags to the deceased.  I heard some laughing going on between the deceased and the last witness, but was not taking part. I heard a shout behind me, and, turning round, saw the deceased almost up to the shaft being drawn up steadily.  The witness Chambers caught hold of the deceased, who was going up head first, being drawn up by a rope around her waist.  I heard nothing about a rope before.  I got hold of Miss Lyus myself, but only having one arm, I could not hold her to stop her.  She went around the shaft, nd went round and round, striking something as she did so.  I at once ran to stop the machinery when I found I could not hold her.  I stopped it then came back and jumped up on to the other cover of another wheel and turned the wheel back about half a turn.  The deceased then slipped off the shaft and fell into the arms of Mr Dovey who had just arrived.  There were so many there that I went outside for a bit.  When I came back in the rope was still attached to the shaft.  One end of the rope was fixed in the nuts of the shaft close to the wheel.  About 3ft of rope was hanging down from the wheel, and the rest was wound round the shaft.  No skylarking was taking place.  I have had my lesson [witness had lost an arm once at the mill], and have often told others not to skylark.

H.M. Factory Inspector: No one had to untie the rope from the girl? - No, I turned the wheel a revolution and the girl fell off.

Mr Harby said that the frayed end of the rope would be just the sort to catch on something on the deceased's clothing or the wheel.

In reply the foreman, witness said that he thought the rope was only twisted round the deceased.  It was not tied round her waist.

Thirza Edwards said that she had worked for the past twelve months at the mill.  On Tuesday last she was close to Chambers and Lyus.  They were all laughing and chaffing as they worked.  She did not see the rope or anything occur until there was a shout and looked up and saw that a girl was being drawn up to the shafting.

Mr Dovey, one of the two foreman at Crabble Mills, said that he was in the office on Tuesday about quarter to eleven, when he heard a shout for him, and he at once went down from the office to the landing floor - a matter of about 25 yards away - and he then saw the girl going round on the shaft, which was gradually stopping.  He saw a rope, and shouted for it to be cut, but at once the deceased fell into his arms as he stood beneath.  She was doubled up in a form of half a hoop.  First aid was rendered, and she was taken to the Hospital.  She was more or less conscious the whole time.  The deceased would have been moved to another job this week: and was doing so well.  She was a general favourite.

By H M Factory Inspector.  He had never heard of a rope being thrown over  there to pull anyone over, but he had seen it done elsewhere.

Witness said that apparently the rope was entangled round the deceased's waist about one turn, as the witness Rogers had only just begun to unwind the rope when she fell.  In regards to the suggested skylarking in the place, that, he might mention, was dealt with very severely.  If a person even throws a piece of rag across the mill the offender is at once sent home for the day, and can only return by apologising to witness.  Any skylarking with machinery would be more seriously dealt with.  He assumed that the deceased struck a girder behind her when she was first caught and pulled up, and that caused the injuries, and that they were not caused by her striking the ceiling.

Mr Harby said that the deceased's legs were broken.

Mrs R A Stavely, first-aid nurse at the mill, said that she arrived as the deceased was dropping off the shaft, she undressed the girl and found a rope round her waist.  It was very tight, tied in a simple knot, and consisted of a frayed strand.

In reply to the Factory Inspector, witness said that the first-aid requirements were provided. She had not seen any lack of discipline.

The coroner in summing up the evidence, said that it was very strange that Chambers was able to throw the rope so far that it caught the end of the shaft.  It was a wretched, unfortunate case, as the mill seemed to be conducted in the most orderly manner, and skylarking was discouraged.  What was done he believed was done inadvertently, and there was no intension to do anything to the deceased.  It was a curious thing the rope being tioed round the girl's body.  For two such unfortunate things to happen together was most mysterious.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and stated that in their opinion, everything was done to maintain discipline.

Mr Harby, on behalf of Mr Barlow, expressed deep sympathy with relatives.


The Funeral took place on Monday at Charlton Cemetery.  The Rev C S M Playfair officiated.  The mourners present were Mr and Mrs Lyus (father and mother) Miss Lilly Lyus, Miss Violet Lyus (sisters), Mr Dixon (uncle), Mrs Clark, Mrs Maddison, Mrs Lyus (Eythorne) (aunts), Miss O Chambers, Miss T Edwards and Miss C Pope.  Mr Dovey was also present (representing Crabble Mill), and a large number of her fellow employees followed.  Floral tributes were sent sent from her broken hearted father and mother; Uncle Sam and Aunt Kate; cousins Lill, Daisy, Mary and Ethel; Aunt and Uncle;  sister Lill; Nelson, Olive, Thirza and Clara; Olive and Nelson;  Mr and Mrs White; Mr and Mrs Merton; Mary and family;  Mrs Hanson and Annie;  Thirza, Ellen, Maude, carrie and Flo; Mr and Mrs Clark;  her workmates at Crabble Mill;  the girls at Charlton School;  her workmate, Doris Lincott;  friends and customers at the "Globe" Inn (artifical);  Louise;  Mrs James; Edie and Lily;  Mrs Wannacott (45 Edred Rd);  Her workmate, Elsie Powell, and friend Amy;  Emmie and Lillie Harvie;  Mrs Gibbons and Mrs Gibbons (Eythorne);  employees at Buckland Mill;  Mrs A Gill; Bill King and Lil Gardner;  Mrs Franklin, Little Mary and Misses Farrier; Girls' Patriotic Club; the neighbours;  Miss E Finn;  Mrs Lyus (Eythorne); and her cousins Loui and Emily (Eythorne).  The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr R Pepper.

  • 9 February 1923 - CRABBLE HILL FIRE - The Town Clerk reported that the period of notice served on Messers. Wiggins, Teape and Co. to cease the nuisance caused by the fire on the bank at Crabble Hill would expire the next day, and he asked what action the Council desired him to take?

Councillor Barwick: Issue a writ.

The Town Clerk said that it was not necessary to do that, as the matter could be brought before the Magistrates.  He believed that it would be a very expensive matter, and the Company would have to remove a large amount of soil.  They asked if the Surveyor could give them any suggestions on the matter.

The Surveyor said that he had not seen it yet.  He would look at it and report.  He was afraid that the only means of dealing with it were chemical means.

The matter was adjourned for a week.

  • 6 April 1923 - THE CRABBLE FIRE - The Town Clerk read a letter from Messers. Wiggins, Teape and Co. in regard to the fire at the siding at Crabble Mill, stating that they had tried to carry out the advice of the Medical Officer of Health, but it did not succeed, and they then made further enquiries, and an expert suggested that the site should covered with a large quantity of sand, but that would cost £2,000 and success was not guaranteed.  They believed that the only certain treatment was to allow it to burn itself out.  They pointed out that they were anxious not to inconvenience their neighbours - still, in the course of manufacturing, that was not always possible.  They were willing to adopt any reasonable method to extinguish the fire that could be suggested.

Councillor Barwick said that he did not think that they could let it stop like that.  It was almost impossible for peoplle to continue to reside in that neighbourhood if it continued.  Where he lived it was it was not so bad on the road above,  and he could not think how they could stand it.  It was impossible to open one's windows, and the state of things could not continue during the Summer.

The Mayor said that the smell reminded him of the smell of mutton chops (laughter).

Councillor Barwick: I hope the mutton chops you eat do not smell like that (laughter).

Councillor Livings said that the Company must expect to have to go to some expense to put it out.  It was due to what they did that it occurred.

It was decided to write to the company, asking that all possible steps should be taken to put the fire out.

  • 15 October 1926 - ANOTHER MILL PRESENTATION - A pleasant ceremony took place on Tuesday morning, October 12th, in the sorting room at Crabble Mill, when a presentation was made to Mr J Sutton, the retiring foreman papermaker of Buckland Mill.  Mr Dovey, the manager of Crabble Mill in making the presentation, said that he had sent for Mr Sutton for the last time officially.  Mr Sutton had been at Buckland MIll for 32 years, and even apart from the work, had been very kind and pleasant, and now after 65 years of active work, was retiring voluntarily, still blessed with good health and sound mind.  His retirement gave them the opportunity of recognising his long work and his kindness.  Mr Dover thought the gift, which took the form of an eiderdown quilt, was about the most useful present they could chose.  He hoped that Mr Sutton would be very happing in his retirements.  Mr Sutton responding, thanked everyone very much for the beautiful present, and said he would always think a great deal of all the workers at Crabble Mill.