Thompson’s Board Mill

Thompson’s Board Mill started out as a waste paper recycling site in 1883. In 1900, with growing success, the family moved the business to its last location, Little Salkeld. Here the company produced paper and board. Supplies for these products become scarce over the years and so the business brought waste paper into their supply line. The two World Wars resulted in further material scarcity and it wasn’t until the 1960s, that new machinery resulted in drastic improvements to production. The significant costs of modern manufacturing methods and cheap foreign competition crippled their finances and therefore were no longer able to compete. In 1996 Thompson’s Board Mill went into liquidation and were later taken over by Activecraft. The mill was eventually shut down in 2003 after facing prosecutions for not having discharge consent from the Environment Agency. Today the site is now abandoned however a majority of the content inside the mill remains.

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On arrival to the site, we were delighted to find the entrance into the mill straight away. One of the doors was on the ground so we simply just stepped inside. We were taken aback by what we saw inside, the building was absolutely enormous inside and we could see hallway after hallway of dark corridors. The first room was perfect for photo opportunities and Lee also recorded some vlog material, to give an introduction to our exploration of the mill. In the darkness of the extensive first room, we could hear lots of noise from the roof, most likely a rat or something. In the darkness, these noises did not help.

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After entering the second of two hallways, we were fascinated to find all kinds of urban exploration treasures. An abandoned office with nearly all its content remaining was a fantastic place for some vlogging and shots. Inside the office, it was incredible to find; invoices, letters, wage details and purchase orders dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

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Proceeding down the hallway we found a chair and what we believe was weighing scales, the way these were positioned allowed us to take some beautiful pictures.

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Unfortunately there was one room we could not explore as the floorboards were loose and soft, it is not worth taking the risk. Instead, I recorded some vlog material showing what was inside the room to make up for it.

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Continuing down the hallway we were again greeted with vast open space. Lee found a locker room with personal belongings still present, such as a shoe and a football card.

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The next open spaced room had one of the best photo opportunities throughout the whole mill. Two seats positioned in front of a large window. Following recording more vlog material and taking these fantastic shots, we continued around to where the first hallway in the building would have taken us.

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All of the machinery was still intact and it was absolutely fascinating to examine it all. One point that has to be noted is this site is easily the least safe we have visited however, we were very careful in the manner we went around the site. On the topic of safety, we also rather unfortunately discovered a chemical leak with an absolutely atrocious odour.

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With the main mill now explored, we headed outside where we discovered a retro gas pump which gave us some great shots.

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We headed down the path and eventually found what seemed to be an engineering room or garage and also even more open space, with an even stronger chemical smell. Due to this we had to be very careful how we went about exploring, taking pictures and recording vlog material.

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Inside the engineering room or garage we found lots of typical engineers lad mags and even what looked like a welding mask which Lee took a picture in.

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Heading through to the extensive open space, we discovered even more machinery and electrical equipment, however the smell of the chemicals meant we could not hang around very long and we therefore had to stay close to huge windows, so we could get lots of fresh air.

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Before we packed up, Lee found a small tv and took an unbelievable shot. We liked it so much, we even used it for the opening scene of the vlog as a special effect.

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Overall we found this exploration to be the best one yet. This is mostly down to the extensive size of the mill and also down to the fact that so much of the content inside the mill still remains.

Aaron 

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