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Ely Paper Mills;Ely Paper Works, Ely, Cardiff

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Map ReferenceST17NE
Grid ReferenceST1506076730
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCardiff
Old CountyGlamorgan
PeriodPost Medieval
Ely Paper Works dates from the early 1870s but papermaking in Cardiff became firmly established when two partners, Samuel Evans and Thomas Owen, took over the works in 1877. By 1889, the mill was producing between 145 and 150 tons of paper per week. In 1893, the mill was described:
'The Ely Paper Works are about one mile and half from Cardiff, and are literally on the river Ely, for the stream runs through the buildings. In other ways the position is eminently adapted for a paper-mill. As it is the works are spacious and well-arranged, and should further extension of the factory be deemed desirable there is still about thirty acres of vacant land around the mill for building purposes. Private sidings give direct communications with the Great Western, Taff Vale, London and North Western, and Midland Railways. The solitary defect of the locality from the paper-maker's point of view has been remedied. Until recently the supply of water was not everything that could be wished, but some deep well-borings have been highly successful, and the Ely Works have now a plentiful supply of pure water. It is no news to the trade that this is one of the largest concerns on news and printings in reel and ream in the world. It employs 400 hands, and machines running up to 106 inches in width. The speciality of the company is news for rapid rotary machines, and the standard quality gives such satisfaction at home, in the colonies, and elsewhere abroad, that the extension of the works is in almost constant operation. Large additions are continually made. Two new machines have been projected recently, and other improvements are still in progress. The company own a large mill in Norway, and ship their raw material from it to Cardiff, which, of course, is an exceptionally well-placed port for imports of esparto, straw, ropes, coals, and the rest of the paper-makers' requirements. Vessels of large burden are chartered continuously for the various shipments from Norway and other countries. The possession of their own pulp works puts the company in an independent position whenever outside causes suddenly increase the price of raw materials.'
(Source: Paper Record, 8 March 1893, pp. 410-11)
Wiggins Teape, a specialty paper manufacturer and merchant founded in 1761, developed into a large multinational concern by taking over and operating paper mills and factories all over the world, including the mill at Ely. Latterly trading as Arjo Wiggins, the company ceased operations at Ely in 2000 and the site has now been cleared in readiness for redevelopment.
See: Paper-Mills and Paper-Makers in Wales 1700-1900, A Davies, National Library of Wales Journal, Vol XV/1, Summer 1967.
B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 10 June 2010.