WSH Handmade Paper

Vintage Paper Co purchased this collection of paper from the mill's in-house artist who acquired them when the mill closed down in 1972.

They were due to be sent for re-pulping and converted into South American currency before he stepped in and saved them and used them for his own work until last year when he retired. 

Uses, watercolour and what else?

This is a multi-discipline paper and has been tried and tested with:-

watercolour, letterpress, etching, screen printing, digital inkjet, pencil drawing, pastel, pen & ink, marbling and bookbinding. 

Why use vintage paper?

Like many products made using natural materials, paper gets better with age, it matures, strengthens and develops its own character.

Most of us will not have used or even handled paper of this quality simply because it isn't made any more and hasn't been for many years.

The difference between these papers and  budget paper is like night and day and when compared to modern mould-made papers these outshine and outperform. 

 WSH brochure

original WS Hodgkinson sales brochure


W.S.Hodgkinson and Co., Ltd, were based at Wookey Hole, England. It is the earliest known paper mill in Somerset with its first documented lease for papermaking dated 1610.

By the end of the 18th century it consisted of a typical three-storey mill, driven off the west leat from the river, with an additional drying loft, the maker’s house and various other sheds.

Wookey Hole mill made many papers and was well known in later years for fine drawing papers, security and bank note paper as well as many writing papers.

After a disastrous fire in 1855, the first W.S. Hodgkinson bought the freehold. The mill buildings were expanded successively holding 13 vats at the time of maximum use. He and his son built houses for the mill workers, a school, Anglican church and social club for the village. They appear to have taken a paternalistic interest in village life. School sports and treats were held in the grounds of thier home where the villagers were also allowed to play cricket. 

Under the Hodgkinson family new technology was not installed despite the arrival elsewhere of machine-made paper. After peaking in 1891, profit declined into loss. In 1915 ten vats were operating and by 1932, after G.A. Hodgkinson gave just under half the company away to his four senior managers in 1920, only five. The family owned the paper mill until 1950/51 when it was sold to the Inveresk Paper Company and paper continued to be made there until 1972 when production ceased.  

Today Wookey Hole is a tourist attraction and paper is made there on a small scale as an exhibit. 

Buy WSH paper here