On Tuesday 22nd October, Mrs Schillaci-Rowland, Mrs Hayhurst and Mr Warren took the Year 11 Design and Technology students to the Paper Trail in Hemel Hempstead.
The students watched a presentation and demonstration about paper and boards, given by Sue, one of the members of staff at the Paper Mill. There were some fascinating facts about the history of paper, as well as the surrounding area (the first place to manufacture paper in the world), and how the Paper Mill had been a huge part of the paper industry, and is the only site to have a working Fourdrinier machine making bespoke paper. They also have a 10-year plan in place to become a Papermaking Centre of Excellence.
The students were then split into groups to undertake three workshops: papermaking, a tour of the Paper Mill in action, and a letterpress workshop, too. The students came away with their own pieces of paper that they had made, as well as a printed sheet they had produced in the letterpress workshop.
The tour of the Mill was very informative, and the students asked lots of questions about the process. It was incredible to physically see how quickly paper is made from pulp, which takes minutes to go from very wet, to a crisp, piece of paper. The Paper Mill make a lot of sustainable paper for big companies, such as banana paper for Lush, and also for events such as Wimbledon, where grass is mixed into the paper to give it a luxurious feel.
The trip will certainly prepare our students for their GCSE exam next summer, and the hands-on experience has also helped them to visualise the processes involved in making paper and boards. The students’ behaviour was outstanding (as commented on by the staff at the Mill) which made the trip thoroughly enjoyable for the staff, too. Thank you Year 11!
Mrs Schillaci-Rowland Design and Technology