53 jobs to go as paper mill closes

The Horton Kirby Mill
The Horton Kirby Mill

HORTON Kirby Paper Mill is to close after over 180 years in production. The shocking news was announced to employees on Friday, many of whom once had fathers and grandfathers employed at the mill.

The striking landmark, which stands in the shadow of the viaduct in South Darenth, has manufactured paper since 1820.

However, demand from Europe for its woodchip wallpaper, currently made there, has fallen, forcing bosses to shut up shop. All 53 members of staff have been offered redundancy.

The mill has played a huge part in the local community for hundreds of years. In its heyday it employed over 400 local people. However, managing director Charles Trollope, explained that the mill was no longer financially viable.

He said: "Unfortunately we have experienced heavy losses in the last few years. The demand for woodchip paper is in severe decline forcing us to cease production. It is a very sad time because many will lose their jobs and the mill has stood here for so many years."

Frank McConnell from Swanley and District Chamber of Commerce said the closure was a great shame: "For years the mill has played such an important role in the local community. It is going to be a very sad loss," he added.

What the future holds for the land, owned by William Nash Limited of Orpington, is unclear. William Nash Limited insists no plans have yet been made.

Speaking for the company, John Hall said: "We are saddened to hear the mill is closing. So far there are no plans and the future of the land will require careful consideration in the coming months."

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