From Andrew Baxter:


I can sense the anticipation in the air for the reunion. It should be a great day. Do you remember a month or so ago that you put up a photo of first year boys at a Christmas party, and one of the lads was Peter Capon? He spotted that and was pleased to see himself.

I came across a possible reference to him/his family in an old book that I have. He may not have seen this reference and I wonder if it would be something for the blog?




Nash’s Paper Mill. St Paul’s Cray.


Does anyone remember the paper mill that was along the back lane to St Paul’s Cray? I’m not sure the mill is there anymore. It’s probably an industrial estate now.


For many years I have owned a book about the history of the paper mill, which includes a graphic diary of the war years 1939 – 1945.


An entry for 21 July 1944   says damage was done to Capon’s house. I wonder if this is ‘our’ Capon from 1954? It looks like it was hit by a V1.


The entry for 2 August says ‘People outside the south-east have no conception of what we are undergoing.’ That ties in with the blog from Smacksman, who had his windows blown in many times.


The war diary  refers to many families  from the war years who   worked at the mill. These references could be CVTS  families. I’ll bring the book down for the reunion, and old boys can check it for their ancestors.

nash 1


nash 2



AndrewBaxter answers Neil Handley’s query

I had a look through my book about the mill, but could see no reference to a Mr Parsons in the text, but I did spot a Mr Parsons in a photograph from 1910. He is not wearing specs in the photo and doesn’t look managerial and it’s 10 years earlier. Possibly not the Parsons we are looking for. But might be his father.  I knew a Christine Parsons from St Mary Cray in the 1950’s so she might be a relative.  I’m very curious as to why someone’s specs should be interesting enough to send to the college, and why some research is needed to find out about a Mr Parsons who lived nearly 100 years ago.  To Mr Handley: Please fill us in  with at least a photo of the specs, if you pick this up on our blog.

nash parsons


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22 responses »

  1. Duncan Borrowman says:

    Nash’s Paper Mill is now an industrial estate. It was on the section of Main Road that runs from the Bull to Homebase on Sevenoaks Way. I remember going on a trip to it with geography, they used to make high quality papers from rag etc. The company still own a lot of the surrounding land including bits that are being proposed for the new Cray Wanderers football ground.


  2. Stan Bond says:

    When I did a student apprenticeship with BICC in the early 60’s I worked a spell with the electricity board. They had me shadow an engineer to do some work in an equipment room on the site of the paper mill. On the way to the site, he expounded how critical the role of an electrical engineer was, because of the potential damage resulting from errors. He was still waxing poetic when he flipped a switch in the control room. The lights immediately went out, & footsteps could be heard running towards us. Yes he had shut the mill down. He was somewhat ashen & very quiet on the drive back to the office, & I never saw him after that. Even I new that to shut down a paper mill was not a good thing to do.

    I remember too that the Dival twins father also worked at the mill in some sort of HR role. John may want to comment on that.


    • Hello Stan,

      I’m sorry to relate the sad news that John died just over a year ago.
      Have a look at this:

      It was sad news indeed when his wife Carole told me this. We remember them both very well from school days.

      We had a reunion here at my place, John, his brother Robert, Graham Butt, Brian Weller, David Hewick, Bob Kingsland, David Brazier, Pete Hider, Philip Lane and Chris Cameron. Wives came along. The ladies were amazed at how we slotted in together even though we hadn’t seen each other for 40 odd years. We regressed to schoolboys in seconds. A happy day made perfect by abundant Gypsy Tart.

      When are you coming over from the States? We’d arrange another reunion in your honour.


      • Stan Bond says:

        Thanks Andrew for letting me know of the demise of John Dival. Although we hadn’t kept up over the years, John & Carole were at my wedding in ’67, & the news was an enormous shock to me. I would like to write to Carole & Robert, but don’t have their contact info. Any help you could provide in this regard will be appreciated.

        I do get over to the UK quite often, & will definitely try to work out a reunion with old CVT(H)S classmates if I can. John would have been on my list, so this is a reminder that at our age, it’s best to meet while we still can!


  3. jed bailey says:

    Hot foot from the reunion (great day) reminded me of one of those coincidences that show what a small world we live in. Nash’s mill made bank note paper but eventually moved to Apsely in Hertfordshire on the M25, where the water and transport connections made for a better business. My company moved to Apsley in the 1980’s and imagine my surprise when visiting the local pub to meet a retired millworker who told me of pre war tales of Col. Nash. and the Home Guard. His son a Cray Valleyian also worked at the mill and at the time was in Scandinavia, home of the company that currently own the mill.


    • Richard Beer says:

      I worked at the mill on several occasions during school holidays, once as a labourer during the annual ‘shut’ when the mill was closed for major maintenance. As well as making fine rag papers on two ancient machines they pioneered the making of Diazo paper for the, then emerging, plan-printing/copying industry. The paper was over 200gsm and very difficult to produce on their new ‘Z-Mill’ machine that had been constructed close to the gravel pit lakes. Target production was at approx 1200 feet/minute on a web about 8ft wide. When the web broke, (which it did frequently) all hell let loose in trying to dispose of the continuous stream of paper whilst trying to re-connect the web to its host reel. Very noisy, dirty, smelly, extremely hot, but great fun as well in exchange for about 2 shillings per hour plus 3d per hour for overtime!


  4. I would be interested in any information about a Mr Parsons who worked at Nash’s Mill (possibly a manager) who came there from Wales and whose daughter later ran the sweetshop and Post Office in St Mary Cray. This could be around the 1920s. The reason, the family of a later post mistress (niece to the above and granddaughter of Mr Parsons) have donated the said Mr Parson’s spectacles to our museum.


  5. Mr Parson’s spectacles happen to be inside a marked box from a Bromley-based optometrist which was the main item gifted to the museum. In a sense the contents were incidental, but I’d still like to find out as much as possible about the owner and it is a museum’s duty to try and do so. The printed details on the box point to a date between 1912 and 1923, but the spectacles themselves cannot date from earlier than 1922. If nothing else this seems to suggest that Parsons worked at the mill for a reasonably lengthy period, although the recollections of family members from three generations later did not extend to whether he was still a mill employee at the time he obtained these spectacles. Judging by the photograph he may have been old enough to avoid conscription in World War One. Indeed the 1911 census contains one James Parsons, aged 70, born in Monmouthshire, Paper Makers Foreman. That looks like a fairly likely identification. If that is him he moved to Kent between the censuses of 1871 and 1881. If so he obtained these particular spectacles in his early 80s…which makes a kind of sense in that it is usually a person’s last pair of spectacles that survives them.


  6. Hello Neil,

    Here’s a bit more about James Parsons.

    It looks like he was a paper maker in Monmouthshire.


  7. John Mears says:

    Hi I remember that mill very well! I attended The Hut School over the road in the 50s and played football on the field over the road. I lived at St Pauls Cray!, long walk to school, then they built a new school the main road, then Midfield near Cotmandene Crescent, happy days! Riding around on my Vespa as we did in those days! (still have it today?)
    John the Mod😁


    • Keith Hayward says:

      Hi John,
      My Dad Frank Hayward was the chief electrical engineer at Nash’s Mill and we lived at no 2 River View Main Road, one of two big houses owned by the mill. They were to the right of Chapmans Lane across from the Bull. I also went to the hut school until 1957/8 and our class teacher was Mr Hugget and the headmaster was Mr Eyres.


      • Keith Thomas says:

        very interesting you saying you lived at 2 Riverview.I used to live at 1 Riverview 1960 to 1963 ish.Iused to lodge with the Mansers and worked in the mill in main lab 3 mc
        and Z m/c.Ileft in 1964.
        At this time Harry Line lived in No 2 he was assist chemist.
        I hope this mail still finds you


  8. Steve Rowbury says:

    I have 2 copies of the above mentioned book/diary. Have only just discovered this site.
    Has there ever been a reunion?
    If so, will there be another.


  9. stephen dodds says:

    i am looking for as much info around the Cray Valley (PM) Football Club, next year is our 100 years celebration and has a member of the committee we have agreed to find out as much as possible about the club, to ensure we celebrate to the full. if you can help it would be a great.


    • Good morning stephen.
      I have found a reference to football in 1948 for the Cray Valley Paper Mills Football Club. I’ll scan it and post it later.


      • CVTHS Admin says:

        Andrew, please send directly to


      • Rebecca Foster says:

        Dear Andrew,

        My name is Rebecca. I’m currently carrying out some research into the Nash Paper Mill of St Cray in relation to a fatal asbestos related disease claim. Our late client had worked at the Mill from 1965 until 1980 . He described exposure to asbestos dust and lagging from the steam pipes. We are searching for evidence or any information to collaborate our his recollection of this. I wonder whether this may be something you or anyone on this page could kindly assist me with? If so I would be most grateful to be sent an email at: Thank you for any assistance.


  10. robert grey says:

    hi does anyone have any information ,on Robert Bartlett a paper maker ,or jack Bartlett


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