Buckland Mill

Dover, Kent, UK

Lower Buckland Paper Mill

C.P. Davies, researching the water mills on the Dour, admits that Lower Buckland is a difficult site to discuss.  There were two mills, one each side of the river, for which there are separate set, of title deeds and he found a further complication as there seems to have been a third mill in close proximity.  The mill at which paper was made however can be identified as can the period over which it operated as such.

The site of the paper mill lies behind Manering's flour mill and is believed to have been built on the site of what is probably the oldest mill in the area, being one which existed at the time of the Norman Survey.  It is also believed that the original Norman foundations are still embedded in the ancient masonry which formed the base of the wooden superstructure of the paper mill.

Davies states that in 1747 both mills appear to have been owned by Henry Pain, who married the widow of the previous owner, ‘Willian, Kennett'.  In 1775 he commenced to make paper at one of the mills and a deed drawn up in August of that year speaks of, the mill house stables water mill and paper mill (the latter lately erected).  In September 1794 Henry Pain was bankrupt and in the following year the property was advertised for sale.  It consisted of well built two vat white paper mill with a large drying loft over it, a spacious salle, a large sorting rag house and warehouse, ten presses and all other necessary fixtures.  Also a large water corn mill with three pairs of stones, a drying oast and two large corn storehouses, with nine rooms under the same for lodging workmen.  The business of clearing up Pain’s estate went on until December 1796 when a final dividend was paid, Samuel Latham, a Dover Banker, and William Phipps were trustees and it appears that both mills were sold to Thomas Horn and, by him, resold to Sampson, a miller of Sturry, and William Kingsford, a miller of Canterbury.

It is of interest to note the two well known papermaking names associated with Lower Buckland, Phipps and Horn.  It is known that Phipps had connections with the mill in 1792 and it is believed his two sons operated the mill earlier than that.

Young journeymen papermakers often moved from mill to mill making a brief stay and they were known to lease a mill by the week, their stay often limited by their, finances, One such journeyman was John Norwood who worked for Phipps at River where he learnt his trade end moved to Lower Buckland in 1800 where he worked for several years.  He left to operate his own mill at Horne Street, Cheriton.

The involvement of Thomas Horn appears to have been solely financial.  Phipps was operating River at the time and had recently built a paper mill at Crabble and it is probable that he had been operating with Pain who appears to have been essentially a miller.  This is the first mention of white paper being made in the Dover area. It is believed that Indian currency paper was made here at one time, one of the moulds for which was, according to J.B. Jones in his "perambulations" in the possession Wiggins Teape at Buckland Mill some years later.

William Kingsford died in 1812 and his son William became possessed or his father’s moiety of Lower Buckland mills. In 1821 he borrowed £6,000 and, Davies suggests, with it he may have built the white weather boarded mill which later was operated by Mannering.  A reference to this building appeared in a 1916 issue of "The Paper-Maker & British Paper Trade Journal" which reeds as follows:

"In July 1814, the great European war was over.  The allied forces had penetrated to the enemy’ a capital end the Emperor of Russia had decided, before returning to his native steppe, to visit his ally, the ruler of Great Britain.

Crossing the channel the Tsar disembarked at Dover and, preceded by a brilliant escort, took the road towards London.  The first industrial, establishment he passed was the paper Mill at Buckland where he expressed his satisfaction at "the comfort and cleanliness" of the operatives which "gave him a high idea or the English working classes". 

The article continues by stating that the mill was converted in 1819 into a corn mill and describes the building as "hansom, with white weather board first floor and a lower story of brick".  This description must apply to the building later known as Mannering's Flour Mill.  The paper mill buildings lay behind the flour Mill.

William Kingsford (11) became bankrupt in 1833 and the two mills were put up for sale the following year. The mills were purchased by Henshaw Latham, a local banker, and in 1840 the corn mill was let to John and Edward Pilcher and the paper mill to Christopher Phipps.

In 1846 Latham became bankrupt and the two mills were put up for auction.  On this occasion Lot 1 was the "Valuable freehold overshot corn mill. —— with all rights in the water of the River Dour attaching to the property of the vendors on either side of the river" to be enjoyed by the occupier of Lot 1 exclusively.  The property was bought by T.B. Bass and in 1847 the paper mill was bought by Thomas Pierce and converted into a brewery, this was known as Wellington Brewey.  the Brewery can bee seen in this 1871 Map

Wellington Brewey, was Lower Buckland Paper Mill

The brewery later passed to Mary Harding and operated as such until 1890.

The Pilchers continued to operate the corn mill until 1865 when it was acquired by W. Mannering.  It is a matter of some interest to note that a Miss Pilcher married into a family of gentlemen farmers named Coleman The last of the Colemans lived in a large house called ‘The Shrubbery’ directly opposite Buckland Mill on the London road.  The original house was the home of Admiral Sir John Bentley when he retired from active service in 1763.  After his death it passed to William Hills and later was bought by William Horne who demolished it and built the present house.   The next owner was Mr Coleman whose father farmed Priory Farm where the Dover College now stands.   On his death in 1911 he left the property and £20,000 for use as a Convalescent Home.  Frank Barlow and Lewis Hobday were appointed Trustees.  The house was later rebuilt end used as a Nurses Home.