Nash Mills, Hertfordshire
A programme of historic building recording and assessment was carried out at the former paper mill at Nash Mills, Hertfordshire, in order to inform development proposals, and to document the mill buildings in advance of redevelopment. Over thirty mill buildings were examined, along with the mill house, a cottage, and former stables. Historical research for the project revealed comprehensive photographic records of the mill, and oral accounts of its function.
Nash Mills has probably been the site of a watermill since the 11th century. By the late 18th century the mill had been converted from milling flour to paper manufacture. The first purpose-built paper mill on the site was constructed by 1796. This was purchased in 1811 by John Dickinson and George Longman. After a fire in 1813, the mill was rebuilt. In 1819, following problems with water supply, the Grand Junction Canal was diverted, providing the mill with direct access to water transport. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the mill continued to expand, moving from water power to steam, and was largely rebuilt in 1879. The earliest surviving building dates from this period. Subsequent additions to the mill were made throughout the 20th century. The mill continued in use until 2006.
The mill house was probably constructed in the late 18th-century. It has been used as offices since 1906, so much of the original interior has been lost. Only the late 19th-century study belonging to Sir John Evans, manager of the mill from 1850-1885 and a well-known antiquarian and numismatist, remains reasonably unaltered.
Stephenson’s Cottage, near the main gate, is a flint and brick building with stone dressings, dormer windows and a hipped slate roof, and is also used as offices. It was built for Leonard Stephenson, who was appointed chief engineer to the mill in 1840. The stables, on the north boundary of the site, were part of a range of buildings erected between 1839 and 1878.