WORKERS at the old paper mills at Salthouse, Barrow, are being invited to a talk and display at the archive in Barrow’s Ramsden Square library next week.

Archivist Susan Benson said: “There will be a presentation by Kay Parker on the paper mills at Salthouse, a chance to look at some archives and share memories of working in the mills.”

All are welcome at the event at 7pm on Wednesday, February 13. Places are free but need to be booked by calling 01229 407377, or send an email to

News that the Barrow Paper Mills was to close was announced in The Mail on Monday, February 21, in 1972.

It sparked off a campaign to try and save the factory which attracted the support of Barrow MP Albert Booth.

The newspaper report said: “About 300 workers are to lose their jobs by the closure of Barrow Paper Mills on March 31.

“The mills, which once employed about 800, have now stopped production and process workers will be served redundancy notices on February 28.

“Barrow Paper Mills Limited, employing some 200 men and 70 women, had been manufacturing wood-free grades of paper.

“The company is a subsidiary of the British Printing Corporation, whose spokesman said the closure had come after two years of substantial losses and in spite of strenuous efforts to carry on”.

The spokesman said: “The corporation has at last had to concede that Barrow Paper Mills is at a permanent disadvantage, especially against foreign competition and there is no alternative to closure.”

The town's MP attempted to get a six-month reprieve for the mills.

However, the owners said the decision was final before Secretary of State for Industry John Davies had time to reply to Mr Booth’s pleas.

Officials of the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades believed another six months would provide a chance to overcome the company’s problems.

By July in 1972 the 21-acre mills site had been taken over by a company called Darselt.

Its directors were Mr J Walmsley, Mr F Singleton and Mr J Martin, all Barrow men.

The Evening Mail announced: “Mr Martin and Mr Singleton are in business as builders in

Hindpool Road, Barrow, and Mr Walmsley is a machinery dismantler and demolition


“The new owners plan to clear the site of machinery so that land and buildings can be let

to firms wanting accommodation.

“Martin and Simpson will use part of the premises as its headquarters and workshops.

“Much of the remaining machinery and equipment could be re-sold and the rest could be sold as scrap.”

A spokesman for the paper mills said the company would continue to operate from the site, occupying the offices and paper warehouse, until all stocks of paper had been sold off.

Back in 1970, two years before closure, Barrow Paper Mills outlined its history.

It stated: “This company was formed in 1887 under the name of the Barrow Chemical Wood Pulp Company.

“The intention was to produce wood pulp in Barrow and sell it to paper mills throughout the country.

“Production started in 1889 with a number of immigrants from Glossop who trained local

personnel in the techniques of wood pulp making.

“It soon became apparent that it would be more economical to make paper on site at Barrow.

“Two paper machines were installed and the first paper was made in May 1892.

“Until 1895 both pulp and paper were sold but in that year two further machines were

installed and all the pulp produced was used by the company to make paper.

“In 1919 the name of the company was changed to the present name, the Barrow Paper

Mills Limited.”

It was later a subsidiary of the British Printing Corporation.