Memory Bank is part of Frogmore Paper Mill’s oral history project. The following are short films interviews of a number of former John Dickinson employees recounting their memories of working for the company.
87 year old James Chandler worked at the World’s oldest mechanised paper mill: Frogmore Mill in Hemel Hempstead, England. This interview contains his memories of the working conditions at the mill, the people he once worked with and the way Hemel Hempstead evolved throughout the second half of the 20th Century.
Bill Heron moved from ‘smog-ridden’ London to the ‘green fields’ of Hemel Hempstead at a time when the town was experiencing a rapid increase in population. As Mr Heron moved to Hemel Hempstead during this transition, he was known by the locals as one of the ‘New Towners’. After some initial animosity at his job in John Dickinson’s for being an outsider, he was eventually accepted by the people of Hemel Hempstead and he grew to love the town.
Paul Sturman was employed at the World famous John Dickinson’s in Hemel Hempstead and grew up living next to the company paper mills. He was also able to realise his childhood dream of being a fireman; finding work as a member of John Dickinson’s fire brigade. Mr Sturman talks about this and much more in an interview recorded on the 26th February 2012.
Ex-John Dickinson’s employee Jim Crotty describes how being a football fan helped him out of a tricky financial situation. He also tells a touching story about a visitor who came to honour a debt his father owed to the mill.
Tony Chambers was born in Hemel Hempstead, England but left as a child migrant to Christchurch in New Zealand. He grew up there and took a job in a printing company. Soon after being employed he discovered that his foreman knew all about his previous home and the paper making history associated with it – in particular Frogmore Paper Mill, the world’s oldest mechanised paper mill.
Robert Jones talks about what it was like to work at Croxley Paper Mill in Hertfordshire. Mr Jones was involved in the making of two of the most respected and well known paper products of the time – Three Candlesticks and Croxley Script. He talks about the working conditions in the mill as well as what employees did to amuse themselves during the quieter moments.
Frederick ‘Sam’ Horne worked on canal boats since World War Two and used to deliver materials from the Midlands down to John Dickinson’s paper mills in Hertfordshire.
In this video he talks about working conditions on the boats and movingly describes his pride for his wife, who was brought up as a bargee and couldn’t read or write, yet went back to school as an adult and became a shining example for her teacher.
Ex-employee Vivien Concannon talks about the famous Hertfordshire-based company John Dickinson’s. This company was responsible for innovations in papermaking and stationery and employed thousands of people to manufacture well known paper brands such as Three Candlesticks, Basildon Bond, Lion Brand and Croxley Script. Mrs Concannon describes the eventual decline of the company and also the influence Dickinson’s once had on local culture.