Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In this Now & Then you can see the bridge over the River Colne on Thorney Mill Road which, as you will see, hasn't changed a great deal over 90 years or so. The main difference is the building in the background. The present day photo shows 'Waterford House' in the background which is a development of waterside apartments built in the 1990's. The historic photo on the other hand shows, other than a number of gentlemen fishing on the river (!), the old paper mill in the background. A mill, in one form or another, has existed on the site since Mediaeval times, with it being mentioned in the Doomsday book (1086). It has been used for milling wheat, corn etc as well as paper making and millboard production. In 1876 it was reputed for being one of the largest mills for the manufacture of millboard in existance! In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a series of fires occured at the mill, one of which, in 1913, completely gutted it. The mill closed in c1923 and sat empty until after the Second World War when it was largely demolished. The part that still stood (Old Mill House and Frays Cottage) was acquired by Penguin Books Ltd for use as a factory and warehouse. They later sold it in 1976. Eventually Waterford House was built and you can still see the original mill wheels which were incorporated into the build from the road - take a look next time you pass!

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