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Former Wheel House and Glazing House at Laverstoke Mill, Laverstoke

Description: Former Wheel House and Glazing House at Laverstoke Mill

Grade: II
Date Listed: 10 January 1953
English Heritage Building ID: 139310

OS Grid Reference: SU4920248661
OS Grid Coordinates: 449202, 148661
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2350, -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


185/3/15 LONDON ROAD
Former wheel house and glazing house a
t Laverstoke Mill

(Formerly listed as:
(Formerly listed as:

Laverstoke Mill was a large multi-phase paper mill which operated between 1719 and the 1950's. Within the mill complex, building No.5 is a wheel house which was part of a major rebuild of the mill in 1854. The architect of this rebuild was Thomas Hellyer of Ryde. Building No.1 is a glazing house dating to 1881. Both buildings are of red brick with slate roofs.

PLAN: The two buildings abut at their gable ends, and are aligned north-south, with the south wing of building No.5 being the northernmost of the two. The south wing of Building No.5 is separated from the remainder of Building No.5 by a corridor, but forms a continuous west-facing fa├žade with building No.1, and is therefore grouped with the latter. They form a linear development, aligned north south, facing west onto a courtyard which contains the mill pond.

EXTERIOR: Building 1 is a two storey six bay structure of red brick with vitrified brick dressings. There is a dentilled eaves course, and the pitched slate roof incorporates three louvers, with a raised pediment at the northern gable end. There are six windows on the first frloor and five windows and a door on the ground floor. Each window is a six panes over nine iron framed casements, with plain lintels and cast iron sills. The sills and lintels are painted white, and the building has been similarly painted to head height. The northern bay has a half glass door in place of the lower window, and the fifth bay has two plaques between its pair of windows. The upper plaque is an oval within a moulded rectangle inscribed 'This house and mill was built by Henry Portal in the year 1719', and the plaque below it, within a moulded rectangle is inscribed 'Rebuilt by Wyndham S. Portal 1881'. Attached ranges to east and south not of special interest.

The south wing of Building No.5 abuts Building No.1 on its north side, and is similarly of two storeys and of red brick. It has a pitched slate roof with a west facing pediment with a dentilled eaves course similar to Building No.1. It has one casement and three semi-circular headed windows at first floor level, with ribbed and gauged voussoirs and an oculus above. There is a half glazed mezzanine balcony, and at ground floor level are three casement windows and a corridor abutting the south elevation of building No.5. The east external wall of building No.5, which has a pulley system relating to the sluice gates, is now enclosed by an additional early C20 structure. Attached wing to north is not of special interest.

INTERIOR: Internally both buildings have been adapted for later use. Building No.1 has been subdivided into office accommodation, and shows no evidence of its former function. Building No.5 is similarly subdivided on its first floor. On the ground floor the wheel house remains with the control wheel for the sluice gates still in situ, although this ground floor room has been subdivided by the insertion of a concrete wall.

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.

Building No.1 is a glazing house dating to 1881. In the early C20, and possibly earlier, the ground and first floor acted as glazing rooms, where a smooth surface was put onto the paper by pressing it between rolls or calendars. By the early C20 the first floor room had become the picking room where women workers in cubicles removed blemishes from the paper with picking knives. The building was subdivided into offices in the 1950's, and all trace of its former use has been removed.

The south wing of Building No.5 is the wheel house, built in 1854. It is thought to be a re-build of a structure, which has the same footprint, shown on a c.1848 plan. In 1854 a water turbine was installed, replacing an original water wheel, situated below the wheel house and above the mill tail, with a sluice gate system to direct water onto the turbine. The turbine appears to have been removed in the mid C20.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Building No.1 and the south wing of Building No.5 at Laverstoke Mill are part of later development at a paper mill which originated in the early C18 and produced Bank Note paper for the Bank of England. Building No.5 belongs to a period in the 1850's when the mill was undergoing a rebuilding programme to incorporate new machinery and to take it forward into the new era. It retains the wheel house and other features relating to the change to turbine power and the control of water flow through the sluice gates. Thus it retains some evidence of its original function. Building No.1 is an imposing building which was one of the show pieces of the Mill complex, and bears two plaques with inscriptions relating to the foundation of the mill and the rebuilding of Building No.1. It was a glazing house, and although none of the original machinery survives, it retains its external authenticity. Both buildings have significant historic and architectural interest in the context of the production of bank notes for the Bank of England and also have a strong group value with the listed mill cottages to the south of them as well as with the listed Laverstoke Mill House.

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: SU4918548676

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.