Henry Cooke and the Beetham Papermakers 1788-1996 by WJ Inman

Studies in British Paper History: Volume V
Henry Cooke was born in the latter decades of the eighteenth century, to James and Elizabeth Cooke of Egglestone Abbey in County Durham. James was a papermaker, whose small mill has been immortalised by J.M.W. Turner in a watercolour and an etching which shows the workers cleaning felts in the River Tees, by the side of the mill house, backed by the imposing ruined abbey. When Henry grew up he followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a papermaker. He moved his business to the site of an old corn mill a few miles away at Richmond in Yorkshire, where he developed a successful enterprise, before his death in 1846.
The company survived until the late 1920s, when several attempts were made to save it by local men. The lease ended up in the hands of Thomas Lumb, who ran a paperboard mill and a paper importing and sales company based in Skipton. By chance he entered into a joint venture with J. Bibby & Sons of Liverpool; looking for a suitable site, they identified Waterhouse Mill, and Lumb moved his business, now registered as Henry Cooke & Co. (1932) Ltd. to Beetham. Lumb and Bibby soon parted company, at which point Bibby retained the lease of the Cumbrian site along with the name 'Henry Cooke'.
This book charts the history of Waterhouse Mill, including the lives of its many proprietors and staff. The story stops in 1996, with the retirement of the author; at this time the site was still run as 'Henry Cooke'. The Swedish firm Billerud AB acquired the company in 2003, and after a further acquisition in 2012 of Korsnäs AB, another Swedish forestry and paper concern, the controlling entity was renamed BillerudKorsnäs AB. Today (2017) the mill continues to operate, as the only UK site of BillerudKorsnäs AB, with a production capacity of 45,000 tonnes per annum of speciality kraft papers produced on two machines: grades include pharmaceutical packaging, food packaging (including grease-resistant material for the fast-food industry) and paper that can be sterilised for medical applications.
Alongside Waterhouse Mill, on the opposite bank of the River Bela, sits Heron Corn Mill, an eighteenth century grade II listed property run by the Beetham Trust. This historic water mill operates as a visitor attraction and still grinds corn occasionally. Between both mills there sits a 100kW Kaplan hydropower turbine, which provides power for the Heron site, with excess electricity being sold to the paper mill. Together the two mills lie in a beautifully picturesque setting close to the Cumbria-Lancashire border.

240 pages, 69 b&w and 6 colour illustrations. ISBN 978-0-9525757-4-0.

Price £22.50 (Members £20) plus postage £3.50 UK, £9.00 EU, £15.00 RoW.
Available by post from BAPH Publications, Littlefields, Christmas Common, Watlington. OX49 5HR

Cheques to be made payable in £ Sterling to: The British Association of Paper Historians