Aylesford produced it’s newsprint from recycled paper. The process was beautifully laied out in the various buildings we visited which were all linked by handy overhead walkways. We started with the warehouse where all the paper was collected and swiftly moved onto the pulping facility and the washing/decontamination plant which cleaned and screened the pulp before it was stored in massive silos ready for the paper making machines.
It took several journeys to finally crack this place, but once inside the feeling of achievement was immense. The place just kept on giving, every corner turned was a photograph waiting to be taken and a new item of equipment or interesting room to discover. You’re only seeing a tiny fraction of the photos I took and there’s so much more to this place, it’s immense. I absolutely love these derelict industrial giants, they appeal to my sense of logic as the processes they follow are always well designed.
The sheer number of different machines involved in making what most consider to be a simple everyday product that we take for granted is quite amazing. I knew this place was big, but I never imagined exactly how many different processes were involved. In my mind, paper got chewed into pulp, pulp got made into paper - simples. So what do they all do? I have no idea really, but they’re all a vital part of the process in some way. Everything had that slightly damp ‘woody’ smell to it.
At one end of the gigantic machine, the paper was spooled onto massive rolls.
This was one of the last paper mills left in Kent, so it’s quite sad to see its demise. As industry goes, it doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. It’s got a bit of everything and although it’s disgustingly modern by some peoples standards, it still has a certain charm about it.