Dalmore, ‘Last Mill on the River Esk’
Wm. Sommerville & Son was the last papermaking company to set up on the River Esk. Formerly a meal mill, work started on the construction of the papermill at Auchindinny in 1835. By 1837, with perfect timing, Dalmore was a fully equipped, modern mill capable of meeting some of the rapidly expanding demand for paper. In its first year of operation, it produced close on 300 tons of paper.
Despite using some steam power from the very start, Dalmore, like the other mills on the River Esk, relied on water power until quite late into the 19th Century. Power was supplied by the River Esk and the process water used to make the paper came from the Glencorse Burn.
By the time it closed in 2004 it was producing 10,000 tons a year of high quality paper and providing direct employment for 120 people. Since 1975, it had been the ‘Last Mill on the Esk’.
During its 171 years it made various types of paper from fine printing paper to conservation paper, from computer tape paper to paper for pension books. Dalmore paper was used to print everything from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to Volumes of British Parliamentary papers, from whisky labels to Nigerian election papers.
Dalmore was often seen as one large family with each generation following on from the last. From 1898 it had been incorporated with its shares quoted on the London Stock Exchange but the Wallace family still provided three generations of Managing Directors covering almost 100 years.
|Dalmore papermill was central to the life of Auchindinny and its inhabitants. When the mill finally closed a former employee said ‘ …they didn’t just close a mill, they closed a whole community’.