Buckland Mill

Dover, Kent, UK


Mill Closure

The mill ceased production on the 7th September 1940.  No 3 Machine had closed down a month earlier when a spitfire had crashed through the roof.

The mill was left in the care of a fire watching and maintenance party of sixteen under the charge of Mr. Platter.

The Manager went to take charge of Ivybridge mill and every male employee was offered alternative employment elsewhere in the group.  A large majority took advantage of this while the remainder took up local employment of national importance or joined the Civil Defence Forces. 

The plant etc removed during the closure presents an impressive list, covering everything from a Rag Boiler, No 1 machine shake unit, strainers, Cutting machine, Engineers lathes, Electric motors, Reeling Machines down to copper piping, miscellaneous stores, micrometers, adding machines and slide rules. 

The Artesian Well formed a reserve water supply for the town and power plant was available for use in case of public emergency.

The Naval Sea Transport Unit occupied the stockroom and No 1 Salle and the Dover Corporation other buildings.  Further damage was caused at Buckland by near misses of two shells and there was blast damage from bombs and v1’s.

At Crabble extensive damage was caused to plant and building by a direct shell hit. This then was the position in early 1945.

Repair Work

In the first months of 1945 the engineer staff began to return, the chief engineer himself returning from war work in January.

Metropolitan Vickers undertook the overhaul of the turbine which was found to be in good order.  At the same time the steam boilers were put into commission.  All electrical generating plants and motors were overhauled and this was a very big job involving inside and out.  Some of the plant that was sent away to other mills began to return.

Work of overhauling the actual papermaking machines began later.  One machine was tackled at a time and overhauled from stuff chests to reel.

The Manager Mr. Gordon returned in the middle of September and with his return the nucleus of a papermaking staff also began to arrive. On the 16th October 1945 No3 machine began to produce sheeted linters, on the 17th December it turned to stock papers, and Conqueror Ledgers were again being made at Dover.  No 2 Machine started up on the 4th February 1946 and No 1 Machine on 7th August 1946.

Repairs to buildings been proceeding continually.  Damage to Buckland was mainly to glass and roofs.  No 3 Machine house Roof was repaired in 1940 but the roof of the humidifier House and No1 machine House have been renewed since the mill reopened covering the area of 800 sq ft. 5,000 sq ft of glass has been used in the roof lights. 52 completely new metal window frames have been fitted in various mill buildings and approximately 3,500 panes of glass have been put in leaving 1,200 still to do.  Much electric cable and wiring found to be in need of replacement and about 5,000 ft has been renewed.

The Crabble Mill was rendered unfit for use as a rag mill and is at present used as a store for raw materials. Production is in the main dependant on prepared cotton fibre but a temporary Rag Boiler House is now being built to house a rag boiler which if it had not been removed to Stoneywood would have been completely destroyed at Crabble. The boiler which weighs 14 tons took nine days on its journey by road from Stoneywood to Dover.

Derequisitioning of occupied buildings was not complete until March 1946.


In January 1946 production was 47 tons per week Machine weight and by October 1946 had reached 105 tons per week Machined weight, Production difficulties were many.

Many of the men had to be trained whilst actually on the job.


Plans for the future included the building of a modern rag mill at Buckland, the installation of a continuous Humidifying Process and installing of loft dried finishing Process.