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Report - Robert Fletchers Paper Mill - Saddleworth - June 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. The Lone Ranger

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    Fletchers Paper Mill – Saddleworth – June 2012


    History (Plagiarised from Camera Shys’ Report)

    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

    This mill has been at the top of my must visit list for a long time, I’ve spent enough time here over the years, but have never managed to get into the main building; well until today. Stuck home alone, no car and overdosed on the Jubilee by 11.00 I thought it was time to step out into the rain and see if I could finally get into Fletchers. All went to plan and within 30 minutes I was sat smiling to myself in the main building. A leisurely couple of hours meant I saw most of the complex currently accessible,

    Image 1

    Well I’m in and find this huge open space to start with.


    Image 2.

    One of the iconic shots of Fletchers.


    Image 3.

    One of the many mess rooms within the building.


    Image 4.

    I now started to hear voices! One of the security guards on patrol passing the building damaged by fire recently.


    Image 5.

    One of the many offices, water pouring though the roof onto the desk.


    Image 6.

    Testing equipment in the office.


    Image 7.

    Reflections of the TLR.


    Image 8.

    Down on the lower floor.


    Image 9.



    Image 10.

    More machinery.


    Image 11.

    Previous calling cards.


    Image 12.

    One of the control rooms.


    Image 13.

    Another control room.


    Image 14.

    One of the locker rooms.


    Image 15.

    Another wet office.


    Image 16.

    Forklifts lined up and ready to go.


    Image 17.

    RIP DHL, I smiled when I saw this and hope he’s still exploring wherever he may be.


    A top afternoon, I’d have even paid to have so much fun. Huge place so another mooch will have to be done.



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