Hayle Mill Archives 



The Hayle Mill Archives are regarded as unique in British papermaking history in terms of their scope and completeness. This is unusual as most companies disposed of their records by intent or accident and very few paper companies survive that existed in anything like their present form prior to 1900. As will be noted below the Hayle Mill collection dates from the 1830s to 2005* and is particularly complete from 1850. In addition the archive collection is complemented by the unrivalled collection of paper samples and the finest collection of paper making moulds in Europe. Other artefacts are also available.


These notes were originally written on 31 July 1996. Additions in italics written 6 February 2000,  10 September 2005 and 28 January 2006.


The collection may be divided in several sections:


Written, typed and printed documents dating from 1810 to 2005*


The coverage of this collection is as follows:










































































































































































































































































































1    Financial records                                                                     1838-1967   1975-1995

2    Workforce records                                                                   1838-1972   1975-1995

3a   Equipment and materials                                                         1861-1960   1975-1995

3b   Manufacturing/technical records                                              1830-1995

3c   Stock                                                                                        1845-1972   1975-1995

4    Sales records                                                                           1846-1971   1975-1995

5    Diaries and notebooks                                                              1873-1971   1975-1995

6    Legal records                                                                           1810-1995

7    Correspondence                                                                      1851-1907   1930s-50s 1975-1995

8    Special collections                                                                    1833-1995

9    Miscellaneous                                                                           1891-1972   1975-1995

10    Subsequent additions                                                              1975-2005*


* Although papermaking ended in 1987 there is a very large collection of correspondence and documents up to the present day relating to the future conversion and use of the Grade II* listed buildings.


These sections are based on the catalogue prepared  by Keith Lampard and Margaret Post in the 1980s and might be differently classified in re-cataloguing. The above list is only a general guide as there are gaps in many places. However whilst most collections are a number of disparate elements, these collections are substantially complete. Many of the legal documents are stored off site in our bank or by our solicitors. This catalogue includes only the items previously  kept in the archives rooms at Hayle Mill and not the boxes marked "samples" which were discovered, in 1999, to contain extensive correspondence and printed banknote and security proofs,


There is a gap in most records from 1972-1974 when the business was run by W & R Balston Limited.


Records from 1968 onwards and in some cases earlier would be withheld or embargoed for the time being but would be added to the main collections later.


Photographic collection, plans and maps


The photographic collection dates back to 1872 and possibly earlier. It includes a collection of glass negatives some of which are wet collodion, more recent film negatives (some of which are recent copies), prints from both of the above as well as prints for which there are no negatives, lantern slides, 35mm monochrome and colour negatives and prints, 35 mm transparencies, 8 mm and 16 mm movies and VHS videos.


The photographs mainly illustrate various papermaking processes, the buildings and surrounding land. There are also group photos and the more technical photos give a lot of background information on dress etc. Some photos do not concern Hayle Mill including a large number from the 1970s to 1990s illustrating Simon Green's visits to papermills throughout Europe and Asia, mainly providing consultancy to handmade units in developing countries.


A start has been made on cataloguing the prints and negatives but much remains to be done.


Plans and maps cover the development of the Hayle Mill buildings and the surrounding property from 1864, or earlier, and also include some maps of other areas. There are also drawings of machinery, plant layout etc. Combined with photographs of the buildings it should be possible to assemble a complete record of building development from 1864 to the present time.


Family Portraits


There is a substantial collection of paintings, drawings, prints, silhouettes and photographs. These will all be retained by Simon Green but copies could be made to accompany the archives.


Paper Samples


The main sample collection dates back to 1871 but there are earlier examples. From about 1900 to 1987 samples of every batch of paper made were kept although some are now missing. These samples are often annotated with furnishes and other details as well as information on quantities made, customers etc. They can all be correlated with production, technical and sales records and in many cases the moulds are extant.

Many of the samples are folded and have been kept in bundles more or less undisturbed since they were first put away. There are also significant quantities of flat sheets dating back to the 19th Century. In some cases there is sufficient duplication to allow testing.


Of special interest are two cabinets formerly kept in the "Card Room" containing samples of as many as 2, 500 different watermarked papers dating back to the 1870s. It is considered that these have considerable individual value to collectors of paper and monetary history and it has been suggested that these two cabinets alone could form the basis of a major research project and book with potential sales of 4,000 copies. This special collection would not be included in the Archives Collection as such because of its great value. However it is proposed that when the collection is studied it be divided into a number of parallel collections. Most of the samples consist of 5 to 10 or more identical sheets, so sets could be made up, one being complete with the remaining sets having some omissions. One set could be acquired for the archives, one remain with Simon Green and the remainder could be sold. This could be done in collaboration with the keepers of the archives. Preliminary cataloguing of about one third of the contents of these cabinets was carried out in 1999.


Boxes of "Samples"


A large number of items were placed in boxes in about 1972 and placed in the "Card Room" for storage. Most of these boxes were marked "samples" or in some cases "old papers". They had been collected from various parts of the Mill, particularly the old Nursery in advance of some of these areas being let out. A start was made in examining and cataloguing these boxes in 1999 and they were found to be much more diverse than previously realised. Categories identified to date include:


±    Correspondence with rag and other raw material suppliers in great deal on quality, price etc

±    Other business and personal correspondence on variety of subjects. These sections cover about 1850-1900.

±    Mixed bundles containing information and about banknotes and security papers. Typically these include letters from customers from all over the world setting out requirements with drawings of watermarks required, examples of trial makes of these watermarks and samples from various stages of production as well as printed proofs returned by suppliers, comments (good and bad). Some of the proofs have been recognised as being very valuable to numismatic collectors and are being sold.


Papermaking moulds


There is a collection of 169 pairs of (or single) moulds. Of these 78 are for sale on an individual commercial basis. A further 91 were sold in the 20 years up to 2006.


All of the moulds were assessed by Edo Loeber, the world's leading expert on moulds, in about 1974 and about 85 were considered by him to be of particular historical or technical interest. Some of them are also exceptionally beautiful. Simon Green added more moulds to this list when particular points of interest were noticed making a total of 94 now.


It is not intended that the 78 "for sale" pairs should be part of the archives (although they could be) but to continue to sell them to any one interested in them.


Most of the 94 historical pairs could be kept with the archive collection but might remain in Simon Green's ownership if funds and/or space were not available for their purchase immediately. Some might be kept by Simon Green for his own collection for the time being but could be transferred to the archives later.


Other artefacts


About 95% of the equipment that was in use up until 1987 remains at Hayle Mill (where it is intended to display some of it) or in other storage, a few items having been sold. The entire collection was listed in an inventory dated 5 May 1989 and this has since been kept up to date. Some of the items are too large to preserve and many of them are trivial or of no papermaking or other historical interest. The inventory should be studied carefully to consider whether some of the smaller items should be retained with the moulds as part of the archive collection.


Books and other publications


There are a number of books currently housed with the archives but they are mostly not concerned directly with Hayle Mill. Some will be kept by Simon Green, some may be sold and some which are relevant should be included with the archive collection. These include some very elaborate sample books.








Document collection                )



Sale as core of the main archives

Photographs, maps and plans            )




Family portraits

To be retained but could be copied



Paper Samples


            Main collection



Sale with main archives

            Security collection

Research, divide into collections and sell. Best collection to be offered first to holders of main archives

             "Box" collection

Sale with main archives after abstraction of valuable individually saleable items (to be copied for archives). Alternatively entire collection to be included with archives, price reflecting auction values.

Papermaking moulds


            Historic collection




            Other moulds                          



Either sold (as a separate collection) to holders of main archives or retained by Simon Green for the time being or permanently. Alternatively might be sold elsewhere as collection or split up


To continue to be sold individually

Other artefacts

To continue to be sold individually. Some items might be of interest to holders of the main archives



Space requirements

In 1995 the Victoria and Albert Museum considered that the document collection and the samples (main collection and security) would need about 346 feet ( 105 m) of shelving and 10 10-drawer (50 mm drawers) plan chests after weeding. Obviously this would depend on how much weeding was needed and practical. No estimate has been made of the artefacts or photographs.  However the photographic prints would need the equivalent of about one 4 drawer filing cabinet.


S B Green 18 June 2006