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British Industrial History

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Hollingworth and Co

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of Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent. Telephone: Maidstone 2739. Cables: "Hollingworth, Maidstone"

c.1680 (or 1719[1]) Turkey Mill was the first paper-making mill in the Maidstone area when it was converted from a fulling mill by George Gill[2]

James Whatman (1702–1759) of Maidstone, bought the Old Mill, Hollingbourne, site of an old fulling mill, and built a new paper mill there. He installed Richard Harris.

1736 Harris moved to Turkey Mill, on the River Len, east of Maidstone, and bought it in 1738 from George's son William Gill, with capital provided by Whatman. He demolished the old mill and rebuilt it, installing new (imported) machinery.

1740 Harris's widow married James Whatman.

Whatman very soon began to make high-quality white paper.

From 1747 many state papers were written on Whatman paper, and it was increasingly used in aristocratic households.

Whatman was the first paper-maker in Europe to make wove (or vellum) paper (as distinct from laid paper), a key development as this later became the dominant form of paper-making when machines were developed for this purpose.

1759 Whatman died

1762 His wife transferred the business to his son, James (1741-1798). It was already one of the largest paper-making concerns in Kent; Whatman soon became a leading figure in the industry.

By 1771 Whatman was claiming to make more paper than any other English manufacturer.

By 1775 Whatman's paper could compete with Continental paper, demonstrated by his first successful exports. He went on to develop improved wove paper.

1776 Whatman married Susanna Bosanquet who became known as a writer on household management.

1785 Whatman bought a third mill, Poll Mill.

Towards the end of the 18th Century, Finch Hollingworth, a member of the old Cheshire family of de Hollingworth of Hollingworth Hall, erected a paper mill on the Len at Padsole; his brothers Thomas and Robert subsequently shared in its ownership.

1793 James Whatman sold his paper-making business to the Hollingworth brothers of Maidstone. The sale was completed in August 1794. He lent his manager William Balston £5000, which enabled him to buy a partnership in the new firm. Whatman allowed the new firm to use the J Whatman watermark

1803 Dissolution of the Partnership between Benjamin Hollingworth, William Balston, Finch Hollingworth, and Thomas Robert Hollingsworth, of Watling-Street, in the City of London, Stationers, carried on under the Firm of Hollingworth, Balston, Hollingworth, and Hollingworth; the Business was carried on by Messrs. Benjamin Hollingworth, Finch Hollingworth, and Thomas Robert Hollingworth[3]

1805 Dissolution of the Partnership between Finch Hollingworth, Thomas Robert Hollingworth, and William Balston, of Boxley, in Kent, Papermakers; the Business was carried on under the firm of Finch Hollingworth, and Thomas Robert Hollingworth[4]

After this, William Balston developed his own business making high-quality writing and drawing paper. He set up a new mill at Springfield, Maidstone. In 1806 the copyright of the watermark ‘J Whatman’ was transferred to William Balston, bringing to an end the production of Whatman paper at Turkey Mill.

. . .

1856 Patent to Thomas Hollingworth, of Turkey Mill, near Maidstone, in the county of Kent, Paper Manufacturer on "Improved machinery for dusting or cleaning rags"[5]

1859 the Turkey Mill watermark was sold to William Balston’s two sons at Springfield Mill and the paper made thereafter at Turkey Mill was known as “Original Turkey Mill” or “O.T.M” and “T and J Hollingworth”.

Thomas Hollingworth lived at the mill. After Thomas died, Turkey Mill passed to his two sons, Thomas and John, neither of whom married.

On the brothers' deaths, in 1888 and 1889 respectively, Turkey Mill passed to their nieces, Mrs Frances Eliza Pitt and Lady George Gordon Lennox. By this time the first paper machine (sic) had been installed.

Mrs Pitt died in 1906 and her half share passed to her widower Colonel Pitt and when he died in 1913 to Brig. General Thomas Pitt (1871-1942) and on his death to his son, Major William Thomas Pitt (1909-1977).[6][7]

When Lady Gordon Lennox died in 1913, her half share passed to her son, Lt Col E. B. Cook and, when he died in 1914 of wounds received at the Battle of Aisne, his share passed to his brother, Ralph M. Cook and on his death to Captain A. R. Cook.

1947 Hollingworth and Co: listed exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Drawing and Writing Paper Watermarked O.T.M., T. and J. H. Kent, Lenaire; Typewriting Paper Watermarked Stag; Ledger Paper Watermarked T. and J. H. Kent, 300 Mill Ledger. Also Chart and Litho Papers. All Papers Animal Tub Sized. (Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. H.2104a) [8]

When Captain A. R. Cook died, Major William Pitt became sole director.

1976 Turkey Mill was bought by Wiggins Teape and closed down, the production being transferred to Stoneywood, near Aberdeen.

1977 Major Pitt died[9].

1979 Hollingworth (Turkey Mill) Ltd was in liquidation[10]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Turkey Mill
  2. [2] The Whatmans and Wove Paper
  3. London Gazette 8 May 1804
  4. London Gazette 24 September 1805
  5. The London Gazette 22 July 1859
  6. 1911 census
  7. BMD
  8. 1947 British Industries Fair p137
  9. BMD
  10. The London Gazette 16 October 1979
  • Biography of James Whatman, ODNB [3]
  • [4] Turkey Mill