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Former Paper Mill at Usk Vale Mill

A Grade II Listed Building in The Vale of Grwyney (Cwm Grwyne), Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8384 / 51°50'18"N

Longitude: -3.1051 / 3°6'18"W

OS Eastings: 323953

OS Northings: 216112

OS Grid: SO239161

Mapcode National: GBR F2.V6F1

Mapcode Global: VH795.419Z

Entry Name: Former Paper Mill at Usk Vale Mill

Listing Date: 19 November 1998

Last Amended: 19 November 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20851

Building Class: Commercial

Location: Approximately 200m S of the Bell Hotel, on the W side of a minor road between Glangrwyne and Gilwern, and W of road bridge over the River Usk.

County: Powys

Community: The Vale of Grwyney (Cwm Grwyne)

Community: The Vale of Grwyney

Locality: Glangrwyne

Built-Up Area: Cwrt Y Gollen

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

Find accommodation in
Gilwern

History

On the site of an iron forge which was established c1720 and worked until 1842. By 1850 there was a paper mill on the site producing brightly-coloured shop papers. In 1888 the mill was acquired by Beckwith & Co and was re-named the Usk Paper Works, producing paper known as 'rope browns'. Turbines replaced the old waterwheels to drive the papermaking machinery. In 1900 steam power is also said to have been used. Further additions to the buildings were made in 1904 (date on building). The mill is said to have closed c1940 and subsequently to have become a small chemical works, when the building was mostly re-roofed. It is now an agricultural vehicle repair shop.

Exterior

A large block of parallel wings oriented E-W, mostly single-storey, built against a bank at the W end, which has a watercourse and sluices into the building. Two central wings, partly 2-storey at the W end, are the main surviving components of the mid C19 paper mill, and housed the moulding and air-drying processes. There is a house (Usk Vale Mill, probably mid C19 but modernised late C20) and further wings attached on the S side, and wings attached on the NW (a finishing house) and NE, with an additional warehouse added at the NE corner. Generally of random rubble sandstone with substantial brick repairs, and corrugated asbestos-cement roofs. The outer wings are generally brick with asbestos-cement or slate roofs, or clad in corrugated iron.

The 2 central wings have sluices entering the building below ground at the W end. The N-central wing has 3 C20 cowls and a mid C20 roof (the creasing of an earlier roof is visible in the wall of the added upper storey at the W end). The wing has a short added upper storey in concrete (laid wet behind shuttering) set back from the W end. The S-central wing is set back to L and is 2 storeys at the W end where it is clad in corrugated iron sheets. The front facing E has windows replaced C20. The N-central wing has double boarded doors lower R, a projecting steel beam above the window, above which is an opening under a corrugated iron canopy. The S-central wing has a late C19 doorway lower R with brick surround and segmental head, and a replaced door. The main window is replaced under a later C19 segmental head. Further L is narrower fixed light and beneath the apex is a former vent now glazed. To the R of the N-central wing is a late C19 rubble stone wing, probably built as a finishing house, in the gable end of which is a window under a brick segmental head and a blocked opening further R. Set forward at the R (N) end is a higher brick warehouse with an opening beneath the apex and the date of the building (1904) in relief in a cast iron plate in the gable end.

The N side of the warehouse is of 4 recessed bays with sawtooth cornices, and has 3 small-pane fixed windows under segmental heads and a boarded door in the bay to R. Projecting from the L bay is a large brick tank. The W gable end has a full-height bay which is weatherboarded above corrugated iron doors and has an opening in the gable. The wing to the R has a single blocked doorway.

The N side wall of the N-central wing is rebuilt in brick and has a brick lean-to to centre. To the R of this is a narrow passage leading to a doorway under a steel lintel, where the wing is wider and has an upper storey with 2 fixed lights facing E and a further fixed light L of lower storey roof.

The finishing house on the NW side of the N-central wing is higher, and has a brick W gable end and S side wall, with a rubble stone N wall and W gable end. In the S wall is a blocked oculus upper R. The E gable end has a large segmental headed window to the L and tall boarded doors to R beneath a steel lintel. The gable is clad in corrugated iron. Attached to the N angle is a rubble stone wall which retains the higher ground on the W side. In the N side wall is a central sliding boarded door with a brick jamb, suggesting the opening is rebuilt or enlarged. On the W side the gable end is built against a high bank and is continuous with the gables of the central and S wings.

The W facade has 4 gables visible (ivy clad on S side). The finishing house to L has a corrugated iron gable. The N-central wing gable is clad in corrugated iron and asbestos-cement sheets, while its upper storey is clad in asbestos-cement sheets. The S-central wing has a corrugated iron door above a sluice (the opening into the building is not visible).

On the S side of the central wing is the modernised house, behind which is a gabled bay clad in corrugated iron and full-height double doors under a shallow canopy. Further behind is a further corrugated iron wing, on the S side of which is a short brick wing with 2 gabled bays facing E. These are only partly roofed and have 3-light windows under segmental heads in the gables, and a segmental-headed doorway lower R.

Interior

The N-central wing has a steel-trussed mid C20 roof. At the W end of the S-central wing is said to be a turbine in situ but inaccessible. The warehouse has wooden king-post trusses. The NW finishing house has a light steel-trussed roof. At the W end is a stone wall dividing off the working floor from a lower despatch bay at the E end.

Reasons for Listing

A rare surviving example of a small rural paper mill, and an example of a once important local industry.

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