Help Save Frogmore Paper Mill

Thanks to Elena Lewendon, Chief Executive Officer of Frogmore Paper Mill for providing us with the following update.

Frogmore Paper Mill is an internationally significant industrial heritage site in Apsley, celebrating the history of paper from the site of the world’s first mechanised paper machine. It is a working mill and visitor centre, from where a dedicated team of staff and volunteers work for a better environmental, enterprising and socially inclusive future.

As many readers will undoubtedly know, on 22 January 2022, a fire started at Frogmore Mill which spread rapidly through the visitor centre, museum and gallery. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue worked tirelessly to bring the fire under control and thankfully, no-one was injured. Over the course of the incident, 13 fire engines attended, including Hemel Hempstead, Harpenden, Watford and St. Albans. The cause of the fire is still the subject of a major investigation by Hertfordshire Constabulary.

 

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Efforts began on that terrible night to salvage artefacts and try to save our irreplaceable heritage. Fire crews guided staff in the removal of the most significant objects they could safely reach, including paintings, original documents and silverware. This continued over the next few days, with many items being so severely damaged, they were immediately sent to be professionally assessed and restored, if possible. Through this valiant effort, items rescued on the night of the fire, and in the subsequent days and weeks have now been restored and will shortly return to Frogmore’s main archive building, which thankfully escaped the blaze.

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It has been an incredibly challenging and emotional time for all associated with the Mill. The scale and tragedy of the destruction has sent shockwaves across the heritage and paper industry. However, with an outpouring of support from the community and further afield, staff and volunteers are beginning to pick up the pieces and look towards a bright future.

This starts with plans to re-open as soon as possible. The remains of the visitor centre are currently being demolished, a vast space of over 700m². With the loss of our main visitor facilities, we are unable to run guided tours or host schools until we build a new temporary facility. We hope to do so by the end of the year. This will let us get back to doing what we do best, inspiring and educating the community all about paper, recycling and sustainability.

thumbnail_IMG_5338The next phase is to rebuild what has been lost which will take a number of years. With every day that we remain closed the Charity loses a huge amount of revenue and the future of this important cultural asset, here in Dacorum, is in jeopardy.  If you can, please donate today and be part of our story which goes back to the Domesday Book, and with hard work and support, will continue long into the future.

Businesses can also offer support in the form of equipment, expertise or sponsorship. Any help is hugely appreciated.

A big thank you from the Staff, Volunteers and Trustees of the Apsley Paper Trail Trust.

Elena Lewendon Chief Executive Officer Apsley Paper Trail Trust – Charity Number: 1079008

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The Dacorum Heritage Trust Ltd.

The Museum Store, Clarence Road, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 3YL

Telephone/Fax 01442 879525   Email info@dacorumheritage.org.uk

Registered in England No. 2851313 | Registered Charity No. 1026161 | Accredited Museum No. 1594 | Status: Fully accredited museum.