The publication of this history is the result of meticulous research and careful piecing together of detail from a wide range of sources. Because of inevitable damage to, and loss of, records through fire and flood, fates to which paper mills were prone, the story of Eynsford Paper Mill has been built, in part, from passing references where paper is incidental to some other study such as railway development or fire-fighting history. In this well ordered and easy to read booklet the author has been careful not to make assumptions, only suggested probable links where corroborative evidence is lacking. Dr. Duncombe uses the events of the period, general and local, to give context to Eynsford mill's history, complementing this with technical changes in papermaking and trends in trade that affected paper production. The relationship with other paper mills in the country adds to the context and understanding of the mill's development. The importance of the mill for the workers and villagers in Eynsford, vagaries of the trade, and the effects on their way of life, are emphasised and brought into focus by the personal reminiscences of Eynsford people. An index, specific page numbers with the references, and a list of illustrations would have been useful and welcomed by researchers, but these omissions do not detract from the importance of having revealed Eynsford mill's antecedents and provenance. This publication will appeal to many readers, whether interested in local or social history, in industrial archaeology or the technicalities of papermaking, as it covers the wide range of aspects that papermaking encompasses. The stated purpose of the Farningham & Eynsford Local History Society is 'to carry out historical studies [and] to publish the results'. These aims the author and Society have achieved, and publication of this work will, no doubt, provoke other material to add to the paper mill's and Eynsford's history.
Dr. Jean Stirk
Member of the British Association of Paper Historians