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Thread: Robert Fletchers Paper Mill- Northern Trip Part 4- (October 2013)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    February 2009

    Default Robert Fletchers Paper Mill- Northern Trip Part 4- (October 2013)

    Northern Trip Part 4 – Robert Fletchers Paper Mill (Oldham)

    So, continuing to try and cheer myself up; I went on a long awaited Northern Tour with my close friend TBM. After replacing his rig he very kindly gave me his now not needed Sigma 10-20 lens.

    Unfortunately we did not notice until the last moment that this lens had a slight fault with the mount, causing some focussing issues in many of my photos. But I didn’t let this dampen my trip.

    What a weekend, I have got some serious photos and experiences from this under my belt now and I hope you enjoy.

    So we wake up on Day 2/3 of the Northern Trip fairly early to make the journey to Fletchers. I had heard about this for years and years on the urbex grapevine so much that I imagined it to be ruined inside after 12 years closure. Boy was I wrong.

    We parked up and headed straight for the factory. First impressions were that it was a little stripped, but as I ventured in I learned how time had really stood still in this place. Nearly everything remains inside and nature is taking over all around it. So much machinery just lost in time.

    ‘Fletchers mill’ or ‘Fletchers Paper Mill’ as its sometimes called is
    Situated in the picturesque valleys of east Oldham miles from anywhere.

    Robert Fletcher entered the firm as a young man in his twenties in the year 1830. He was very talented, which was not missed by his employers, so he soon became manager of the bleaching department and later managed the whole site.

    The Crompton family held Robert in high regard and Roger Crompton whom was the last of the brothers, left him both the principal trusteeship and the option of succeeding him in the firm.

    After Roger Crompton died, Robert Fletcher operated the mill with conspicuous ability and integrity for many years. He later died at Vale House in Stoneclough, in May 1865, and was succeeded by his sons John and James Fletcher. They in turn were followed by their sons, John Robert Fletcher and James Fletcher, who are well remembered by many of the sites former employees today.

    In 1897, the firm became a Limited Company. Many things have changed since those days. The Company grew from two hundred people; now the number including to about one thousand. The top wage in those days was 6½d. an hour. There were 7 paper machines which between them produced hardly anything compared to three modern units.

    Throughout the years, the firm continued to expand and to increase its volume of business. A relation for high quality, reliability and fine craftsmanship was steadily built up.

    A second mill, at Greenfield, near Oldham which we are reporting on here; was opened in 1921. This mill specialises in the manufacture of cigarette paper. Robert Fletchers owns several hundred of acres of land around Greenfield Mill, which supports a mixed farm.

    Towards the late 90’s the two mills of Robert Fletcher & Son Ltd started to struggle. A combination of the increased cost of wood pulp and energy put massive financial strain on the firm.

    In between 1997 and 1999, the mills turnover halved as did the shareholder funds. In 2000 in an effort to save the business going to the wall resulted in the closure of the original Fletchers Stoneclough mill and 120 job losses resulted from the closure although 50 new jobs would be created at the current Greenfield site. This was short-lived and the company continued to spiral into financial ruin and in July 2001 several suppliers and creditors formally applied to wind up the company and resulted in the closure of the Greenfield site.

    To this day the site stands empty. Lost in time, everything left behind. Nature is taking over the place.

    Again; please excuse the lens wobble

    DHL certainly got everywhere. R.I.P. Buddy

    More At: Robert Fletcher Smoking Paper Factory - a set on Flickr

    Northern Trip Part 5 – Rossendale Hospital

  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, cunningplan, flyboys90, krela, Lucky Pants, mrtoby, paymaster, smiler
  4. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Centre of England or near enough


    Great pics,ace mill so much to see.

  5. #3
    peterc4 Guest


    Very nice mate, this place shot to the top of my list last couple of weeks after a chat with another explorer, so close to me aswell, will be off my list very very soon

  6. #4
    Join Date
    October 2010
    Lost in Cornwall


    Great post and some outstanding pics, Loved it, Thanks.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    November 2012


    well this has made my list!!! nice pictures mate
    Now remember if we get caught im deaf and you dont speak English!!..... my facebook page for more pictures!!

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