Stationers Place, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead
There has been a paper mill at the neighbouring town of Apsley since 1774. The large, successful business grew over the years and became a major employer in the area. The mills were founded by John Dickinson, who invented a continuous mechanised papermaking process.
For most of the 19th century, the mill was owned by the Grand Junction Canal Company, and the business expanded with the chemical production of paper from wood pulp to supply the newspaper industry. In 1890, the mill was taken over by the British Paper Company. John Dickinson was especially known for the Basildon Bond brand of stationery.
Several people buried at Rectory Lane Cemetery had connections with the mills at Apsley. Of particular importance was William Longman, head of the Longman publishing family firm, who lived at Ashlyns Hall. There had been long-standing relations between the Longman and Dickinson families. In 1809 William’s uncle, George Longman, became a partner in John Dickinson’s paper business. John Dickinson was a great inventor-pioneer-entrepreneur but he needed the contacts and financial backing of the Longman family to make a commercial success of the world’s first paper machines. When George died in 1822 he bequeathed his share in the partnership to his nephew, Charles Longman, who was brother to William (and who in 1856 built and lived in Shendish Manor).
In addition to professional connections, there were several Longman-Dickinson marriages. In 1843 William Longman married Emma Pratt Barlow, who was the sister of the son-in-law of John Dickinson. William and Emma had nine children: three boys and six girls. One of William and Emma’s sons, Charles James, married Harriet Evans, one of John Dickinson’s granddaughters, and William’s nephew, Thomas Norton Longman V married another of Dickinson’s granddaughters, Florence Ann Pratt Barlow.
The ownership connection ended around 1895 when the paper company went public but the family connections continued and so did trade: the Dickinson mills remained a major supplier to Longman’s until 1980 when their Croxley Mill closed.
Other burials at Rectory Lane Cemetery are linked with the mills at Apsley.
- Charles and Ada Coughtrey, buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery, were the parents of Alfred Coughtrey (1903-1996), a chairman of John Dickinson’s who started at the company aged 14 at as a sweeper.
- Harry Ernest Meadows (d.1943) worked as a stereotyper at John Dickinson’s.