The Michael Stanyon Archive was formed by, and has grown under the guidance of its namesake, our honorary lead archivist, Michael Stanyon, now retired. The archive resides in its 8th location and has amassed a fascinating collection of documents, objects and images, relating to the history of paper, papermaking processes, paper mills ( in particular those of the Gade Valley) and aiming to draw together a wealth of information that is the legacy of the area.
It holds fascinating histories, character studies and invention records, which all occurred along this short stretch of the Gade River in Hertfordshire, all of which had international impact. Paper is a commodity we think little about but brings together science, invention, creativity, engineering, history and many well known names. This small part of Hertfordshire changed the world through the introduction of mechanisation and the increased availability of paper; a communication revolution.
The archive focuses upon the first papermaking machine in the world, the Fourdrinier Paper Machine of 1803, here at Frogmore, and still a standard machine type used today, plus hard on its heels, the cylinder mould machine invented by John Dickinson. The John Dickinson empire spread across the valley and abroad, John Dickinson personally held 13 patents in his name and the company is known for the familiar names of Lion Brand, Croxley Script and Three Candlesticks. He, his descendants and associates include some big names in paper and publishing, which commenced in the Industrial Revolution.
The archive is a living, growing centre of the Apsley Paper Trail charitable trust. As it develops we hope to increase research access to all, with online access and study facilities. If you do have a question for the archive, please email for the attention of the archivists, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We may not have all the answers but we will always try to help.