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Former Mill Cottages at Laverstoke Mill, Laverstoke

Description: Former Mill Cottages at Laverstoke Mill

Grade: II
Date Listed: 12 April 1984
English Heritage Building ID: 139309

OS Grid Reference: SU4920648638
OS Grid Coordinates: 449206, 148638
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2348, -1.2966

Location: B3400, Laverstoke, Hampshire RG28 7NS

Locality: Laverstoke
Local Authority: Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
County: Hampshire
Country: England
Postcode: RG28 7NS

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Listing Text


185/3/16 LONDON ROAD
Former Mill Cottages at Laverstoke Mill

(Formerly listed as:

Laverstoke Mill was a large multi-phase paper mill which operated between 1719 and the 1950's.
Within the mill complex, the Mill Cottages are workers' cottages built by John Portal for his employees in 1842. The architect is not known. The building is of flint and red brick with a slate roof.

PLAN: The long narrow building aligned northeast-southwest. At its eastern end, on its north side, it now abuts the later Building No.19, which was a despatch building built in 1928 to 1930. At its western end, on the south side it now abuts another later building, No.17, the 1868 gatehouse. The row of cottages is of single room-depth plan.

EXTERIOR: The Mill Cottages are a long narrow two storeyed row of five cottages. The principal fa├žade, to the north, is of coursed flint galleting with red brick dressings, and a hipped slate roof. The windows are paired lancets with thick, unmoulded ashlar jambs, simple brick hoodmoulds and intersecting iron glazing bars in the Gothick style. The windows and the plain doors are in a regular arrangement. The openings and the porch are modern and relate to the building's late C20 conversion to offices. The eastern end was partially rebuilt in the late C20. The early C20 low brick building attached to north east and known as the despatch building is not included in the listing. To the south west end is the gateway of c. 1868, which is not included in the listing.
INTERIOR: The interior is of single room-depth, converted to offices in the late C20.

HISTORY: Laverstoke Mill was founded as a paper mill in 1719 by Henry Portal, and operated as such until the 1950's. Prior to 1719 it was the site of a corn mill belonging to Laverstoke Manor, probably one of the two Laverstoke mills recorded in the Domesday Book. The paper mill produced mainly hand-made rag paper, and at the peak of its production in the early 1920's it was one of the largest hand-made paper mills in the country. After the 1950's paper production was transferred to the nearby Overton Mill which had been built in 1920-22. The Overton Mill became the focus for investment in new technology, and is still producing banknote paper today.

During the whole period of its operation Laverstoke Mill was owned by the Portal family. From 1724 they held an exclusive contract with the Bank of England for the manufacture of bank notes, treasury bills and dividend warrants. Laverstoke also produced currency for a number of other countries including, from 1860, the Government of India. The Portals had a close relationship with the Bank of England, and the Laverstoke site was expanded in response to initiatives from the Bank concerning printing technology, contracts for new products, denominations and issues. The present accumulation of buildings on site, with its variety of dates, is a result of this ad hoc development.

There are no buildings remaining from the earlier periods of the site, and the earliest buildings standing today are from a rebuilding programme in the mid-1850's, just before the issue of fully printed bank notes. It was in the early 1850's that the mill was largely rebuilt, and new machinery installed including a water-turbine, a ten horse power steam boiler, and drying and sizing machines, although the paper continued to be mould-made. Later buildings on the site were added in response to individual contracts.

The Mill Cottages are workers cottages dating to 1842. The octagonal ashlar plaque on the north elevation reads 'Built by John Portal Esq., 1842'. In the late C20 they were converted to offices. These cottages were established by Portal as subsidised, low-rent housing for his workers. They are in the tradition of early C18 estate cottages and those built by the railway companies for their employees, such as the 1840's cottages at Crew, Swindon and Wolverton. They are the precursor of the large model communities of the 1850's and 1860's such as Copley, Halifax, Saltaire, and Ackroyden. The cottages are of historical interest in that they reflect a paternalistic attitude, current in some early Victorian employers, towards their employees, and a means of exercising social control over what was seen as their domestic and moralistic betterment.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The Mill Cottages (Building No.18) were workers cottages built, in 1842, by John Portal for his employees. It is located close to the entrance to the mill, and was clearly intended to be seen by visitors to the mill complex. It was therefore provided with an architecturally distinct Gothick north elevation, and the wall plaque denoting that it was built by John Portal ia a further reflection of the prominence of its location and the pride in its appearance. The Cottages form an inter-related group with Buildings No.1 and No.5 around the courtyard just beyond the entrance to the mill. In addition, the building provides an interesting insight into the mind of some Victorian employers who established this type of housing in order to exercise social control over their employees' domestic habits and moral welfare.

SOURCES: Geraint Franklin, Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch, Hampshire, An assessment by the architectural investigation team London and SE team (January 2006).
Edis & Lowe, Historical and Architectural Analysis Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire (September 2005) for CgMs.

Listing NGR: SU4920548637

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.