Midlothian’s 100 Objects - a papermaking mould

A papermaking mould from Bank Mill, Penicuik, shows the watermark and date of 1811. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society
A papermaking mould from Bank Mill, Penicuik, shows the watermark and date of 1811. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society

An amazing survivor of Penicuik’s papermaking past is in the archives of Penicuik Historical Society.

This papermaking mould from Bank Mill shows the watermark and date of 1811.

In 1709 the first paper mill on the Esk was established at Valleyfield. It was taken over by Alexander Cowan in 1779 and eventually became the largest paper mill in Scotland.

In 1803, a close-by corn mill was converted to a paper mill by Alexander and Duncan Cowan and became known as Bank Mill.

It specialised in the production of high quality paper for bank notes.

It continued with handmade paper until 1847 when a papermaking machine was installed. Bank Mill, like Valleyfield, closed in 1975.

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