Sunday, 6 October 2013

River Gade. Nash Mills

River Gade
The Gade flows south eastwards

Post to the north Apsley End
Post to the east Abbotts Hill

Belswaines Lane
This section of road was once called Upper Highway.
Nash Mills Church of England Primary School. The school was founded by John Dickinson in 1847 and originally had a large room for the pupils plus a teacher’s house. .After the Great War a new room was added and in 1930 Sir Arthur Evans, gave some land to the school, which was used for gardening. In 1935 wooden classrooms were added to cope with increasing numbers and in 1939 71 war time evacuees arrived at the school.
The George Pub. This was originally a wooden structure known in 1870. It was demolished in the 1950’s to allow for road improvements, and was rebuilt. It has since been demolished again.  
The Three Tuns. This pub dates from at least 1793
The Three Crowns Pub, this was opposite the Three Tuns and closed in 1912
A three storey block of six cottages was built at right angles to the lane between the Three Tuns public house and Nash Mills school by Dickinsons.  These were demolished in the late 1940s.

Butterfly Crescent
New housing on the site of Nash Mills
Nash Mills House. The house is thought to have been built about 1790 by Griffith Jones the then mill owner of Nash Mills.  John Dickinson and his family lived there in 1810-11. The house was then occupied by Dickinson's partner, Charles Longman, a member of the publishing house family. In 1856 it became the home of Harriet and John Evans – the archaeologist who was then manager of the Dickinson works. Steps from the house led to the lawns bordering the River Gade where there was a waterfall. The house became continued as offices in 1906 until 2006, when the mill closed.

Dickinson Quay
Apsley Marina. Built in 2003, with marina-side housing designed like an 18th dockside.

Grand Union Canal
Apsley Bottom Lock 67
Coal conveyor. This is now gone but used to take coal across the canal to the power house.
Apsley Bottom Lock Winding Hole
Concrete bridge between the factories on either side of the canal. Now gone.
Papermill Footbridge – modern metal spiral bridge across the canal
Apsley End Bridge. Red brick bridge with iron guard to prevent damage. It is designed to take horses and people over the canal
Footbridge/Pipe Bridge
Nash Mill Top Lock 68 known as Sibleys Lock. The cottage is now privately owned.
Nash Mill Winding Hole
Nash Mills Bottom Lock. 69
Red Lion Lane Bridge. West of this point the towpath changes sides to avoid Nash Mills

Hempstead Road
127 Eagle Cafe, this was previously the Eagle Inn. 18th building with some alterations in Red brick. Adjacent a timber framed building was later used as a garage

London Road
Dickinson site – vast complex of buildings covering the area which is now trading estates and housing between the canal and the London Road. The site had its own gas works from 1851. In 1850, the company started mechanical envelope manufacturing, with the first gummed envelopes and they pioneered the production of window envelopes in 1929. Departments based here were also for card production and paper making.  In the early 20th century more land was acquired along with a new powerhouse, built in 1905 and a telephone system. Steam engines were replaced and garages built for motor vehicles.    The production of post cards was increased as well as office equipment card systems.   The trade mark of Lion Brand was inaugurated in this period. In 1927 some buildings were replaced including a new envelope factory with different floors producing different types. By 1933 they were making 100,000,000 per week and production was later spoilt into two separate departments.  A new card building was built in 1933 on the site of Salmon Meadows. In 1930 a new factory was provided for the book department. In 1931 production of Basildon Bond envelopes and notepaper was transferred here form Tottenham, concentrating on specialist production. The whole factory was eventually closed down in the 1990s following company takeovers
Guildhouse – this was essentially the work canteen
Dolittle Business Park built on Dolittle Meadows. Doolittle was the name of a nearby village and may also have been another mill site. The Business Park is on the site of Dolittle and Red Lion meadows. Doolittle plantation lay on the south side of the railway line and an old house stood there which was demolished in the 1930s. Later it became a car park and a wartime gas decontamination unit.
Cottages were built by Dickinson on Dolittle Meadows. This was in two terraces of six houses around with a communal pump in it. Demolished in 1934
The Cottage. Wooden 17th colour washed building with the Basildon Bond clock on the gable – where the words “Basildon Bond” replaces the numbers. Dickinson lived in one wing in 1804 and it later housed the company board room, now called the Tudor Room. This was extended in 1927 with a board room, visitors' dining rooms and first aid rooms. In the garden is a war memorial commemorating the fallen of both wars who worked at all the John Dickinson sites.
Apsley Station.  This was opened in 1938. It was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway to serve Dickinson's mills –up until then, although the railway passed the mill, it was not used and Dickinson’s relied on canal transport for goods transport. The station was opened by a special train, carrying the chairmen of both Dickinson's and the LMS, which broke through a large sheet of Croxley paper stretched across the rails. The station remains substantially as built with a brick and concrete booking hall.
Red Lion. Public house in a 17th or earlier building with a 20th front. There is an exposed timber frame at the back plies a long single storey brick building. It is said to have had stabling for the horses that worked the canal.
Rucklers Green. A village area around the cross roads where the Red Lion stands on the London Road.

Nash Mills
The Nash Mills site is now being developed for housing as Nash Mills Wharf
Nash Mills. A Domesday Mill site probably developed by St.Albans Abbey.  It was a corn mill and mill house when it was sold to William Kentish in 1624. It was used as a paper mill by A. Blackwell and G.Jones before being purchased by John Dickinson in 1810. Under Dickinson Nash Mills was renowned for its production of tough thin paper used for Bagster's "Pocket Reference Bible". Following a major fire in 1813 redevelopment moved towards large scale production. Nash Mill grew considerably over the years.  After the fire Hercules turbines were used instead of water wheels. The mills stand on an island and have done since 1818 when the route of the canal was changed. In the 1830s paper was made here with a silk thread running through it for security and used by the penny post. It was also at Nash Mills that Dickinson introduced edge runners for pulping. The engineering workshops here built steam engines used elsewhere in the works but the department was transferred to Apsley Mill in 1888... The production of fine rag paper on electrically driven machines was a successful innovation here.  By the end of the 19th Nash Mill, which was small began to be less profitable. Continuous minor changes were implemented until, in 1926 was expanded and redeveloped. In 1927 the dairy and stables were replaced by raw materials plant and a great deal of new machinery installed including a new board machine built in house.   Following concerns on pollution a Swedish treatment plant was installed in 1934 to precipitate fibres. The mills were working until 2006.

Nash Mills Lane/Red Lion Lane

Nash Mills Recreation Centre. This houses a canoe club and related activities. It is on the site of an old Council depot.
Trefoil House. This is a drug use recovery project

Stationers Place
The Papermill. New built pub, a Fullers house
Holiday Inn

Rucklers Lane
Pilling Bodyshop and engineering works
Rucklers Lane Village Hall. The Arthur Longman Memorial Church, originally the Mission Hall, was given Rucklers Green in 1908 by Mrs. Longman in memory of her husband Colonel Arthur Longman. It has since functioned as a local community hall
Stationers Place

Swan Mead
Site of Chiltern Hunt factory

Sources
British Listed Buildings. Web site.
Canalplan. Web site
Dacorum History Digest. Web site
Evans. John Dickinson & Co.Ltd
Hemel Today. Web site
Hills. History of the British Paper Industry
Kings Langley Local History and Museum. Web site
Mee. Hertfordshire
Nash Mills Parish Council. Web site
Nash Mills School. Web site
Nobbs. A walk along the tow path
Sir John Evans Centenary Project. Web site

1 comment:

Tim Clark said...

I can confirm that the Three Tuns in Belswains Lane is still a working pub. My grandparents lived in one of the tied cottages opposite, my grandfather worked at Nash Mills. My Great great grandfather was the licensee of the Three Crowns, which was also a grocery