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Report - Robert Fletchers Paper Mill – Greenfield – February 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. The Lone Ranger

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    Fletchers Paper Mill – Greenfield – February 2013

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    Well I’ve managed just over 4 month without a visit to Fletchers, so it was well overdue and was good to be back. Before we even went in the buildings it was very apparent that various bits had been removed, inside fair chunks have been stripped down and cut out. Hard to tell if this is actually legitimate salvage work or just security having their fingers in their ears as the pipe work have been cut with grinders. Thankfully not too much of the charm has vanished to the local scrap dealers, but things have changed for the worse.

    History

    The history of Fletchers as a business can be traced back to 1829 and a company called Ralph Crompton & Nephews Bleachers and Papermakers in Stoneclough. A young Robert Fletcher began working there in 1830 and was quickly promoted, becoming bleaching dept manager and eventually manager of the whole operation.

    The last of the Cromptons, Roger, left Fletcher the principal trusteeship and the option of succeeding him in the company. On Crompton's death Fletcher did just this, building the business until his death in 1865 when it passed to his sons John and James Fletcher, who in turn passed it to their sons John Robert and James.

    In 1897 the business was incorporated as a Ltd company, employing two hundred staff, eventually rising to around a thousand. The Stoneclough site had seven machines but produced a fraction of the eventual output of the three at Greenfield.

    The Greenfield factory opened in 1921 on a site where milling in one form or another can be traced back to 1780, producing first wool then cotton.

    Fletchers continued to be successful through to the late 1990's when increased pulp and energy costs combined with a financial downturn saw the business begin to struggle. In 1997 the turnover was around £17m with shareholders funds of £9m. By 1999 this had dropped to £8.2m and £4m respectively. To try to save the business the Stoneclough site was closed in 2000 with the loss of 120 jobs there but the production of 50 more at Greenfield.

    This wasn't enough to save Fletchers though, in July 2001 several creditors applied for a winding up order resulting in the overnight closure of the factory.

    My Visit

    Other plans fell through so Ojay and myself decided on visiting a localish venue. I don’t get bored of this place and have tried to take some different photos on this visit. For once our stroll was incident free and after a few hours enjoying Fletchers we finished the afternoon off sat in the almost Spring sunshine with a well earned pint.

    Report

    I crack on with some photos and drop the waffle, sorry for the lots of photos but I do like this site and not sure how long it will remain in one piece. No real reasoning as to the order of the photos, just as I took them really.

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    Ojay test driving his new disability scooter

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    Finally a quick tour of the offices, lots of old photos and a few records from the local brass band. I probably know a few of the folk in the photos and the album cover. I think it’s a real shame that these bits of history will either just rot away or get trashed by the local metal thieves.

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    A quick visit to the medical room on the way out.

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    Well that it, a great few hours, but sad to see things being stripped down especially if it’s not legitimate. Fletchers Mill is vast and every time I go I see something new, I do like here btw :)

    Cheers

    TLR​
     

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