Something exciting has happened at our Paper Mill in Leslie – Sapphire Paper Mill. Upon renovating an old office, we stumbled across some photographs that makes even Managing Director Peter Duxbury look young!
Previous to Sapphire Paper Mill, this Leslie based site consisted of numerous spinning and weaving mills. Due to a decline in the spinning and weaving industries, Charles Anderson from Newburgh invested in paper machines and began the production of paper towards the late 1840’s. It was at this point the Mill was called Levenbank Paper Mill. Between the 1880’s and 1890’s the site which was then known as Fettkil Paper Mill saw the installation of a water turbine, to provide electricity for the mill. Under the new owner Fourstones, Sapphire Paper Mill still uses water turbines to power it’s paper machines and utilities. Unlike the 1880’s we understand more about the environmental impact that industrial factories have on the world, the water turbine helps produce clean and renewable energy, reducing the site and it’s products carbon footprint to this day.
Throughout the 20th century, Fettykil Paper Mill made it’s stamp on the country. Between 1939 and 1945 following a shortage of wood pulp the mills layout was adjusted to accommodate its modified stock prep systems to run recycled fibres, allowing the mill to produce necessary paper products for the war cause. In the 1980’s Paper machine No.2 and No.4 were installed. Able to produce high GSM papers and built to the highest of standards these machines became the basis of Fourstones Paper Mills investment in the site many years later. Upon the machines installations, Fettykil Paper Mill continued to produce products such as paper bags and envelopes.
Sadly, in 2006 Fettykil Paper Mill was closed, a devastating blow to the local town of Leslie with the loss of 160 jobs. One of the key reasons stated for this tragic closure was the ever rising energy costs within the UK. Dormant for three years, the site was then sold to Northumberland based paper makers, Fourstones Paper Mill.
Upon purchasing the Mill in 2009, new owners Fourstones Paper Mill renamed the site as Sapphire Paper Mill. Bringing back the paper industry to Leslie. Fourstones first project was to convert Paper Machine No.2 so that it could produce recycled tissue parent reels, a much more delicate product than the machine ran previously. November 2010 saw the opening event for Sapphire Paper Mill.
Due to its sudden success in producing quality tissue parent reels, Fourstones was able to invest in new converting equipment in 2013. Sapphire Paper Mill became the manufacturer of not only it’s sought after Tissue Parent Reels but also the manufacturer of quality Centrefeed Paper Disposables.
Due to increased demand for tissue parent reels, Fourstones began its next major project at the Sapphire Paper Mill site, Paper Machine No.4. The existing paper machine was fully disassembled leaving the large MG cylinder. A new modern crescent former was installed. Using one of the most modern designs, the machine began producing tissue in May 2015.
Sapphire Paper Mill has had and will continue to have a bright future.
If you would like to find more out about Charles Anderson and his company Smith Anderson click here.