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Glenrothes, Rothes Paper Mill

Paper Mill (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Glenrothes, Rothes Paper Mill

Classification Paper Mill (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 349908

Site Number NO20SE 52.26

NGR NO 28228 01603

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Markinch
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Kirkcaldy
  • Former County Fife


Publication Account (September 1969)

In 1913, Auchmuty No.2 papermachine was transferred from Auchmuty to Rothes Mill and became 'Rothes no.2' paper machine, replacing the c. 1846 60-inch face Rothes 'old No.2' machine.

There is little knowledge of what this machine looked like before 1909, but a drawing from Bertrams Ltd. showed that they supplied five drying cylinders, a size press and three 'spar' drums. The exisiting machine, as shown on the 1909 drawing, apparently had ten drying cylinders, an inter calender and three after dryers. The cylinder face width was 76 1/4 inches.

Sometime before 1913/14 the size press and spar drums apear to have been removed. There is a drawing from Walmsley (paper making machinery manufacturer) dated February 1914, showing a proposal to relace the old drying cylinders with five new ones. There is also a foundation drawing from Walmsley dated March 1914 for a new wire frame and three presses followed by a smoothing press and and nine drying cylinders. The latter were arranged to replace the old drying cylinders immediatey in front of the fve drying cylinders supplied by Bertrams in 1909. At the same time the width was increased, the new cylinders being 90 inches on the face. The new equipment was installed and the machine started up on 8th August 1914.

The wire press and cylinders were being installed there was probably was second thoughts about kepeping nthe remainin gold drying cylinders which were '4 inches narrower on the face . The outline drawing from Walmsley dated July 1914 shows all the old cylinders and calenders replaced by new ones. Ten new cylinders were duy supplied plus an inter calender and four stcks of machine calenders. The effect of these modifications essentially produced a new machine. The dry end was never altered again until 1965. The second stage of the rebuild of the machine took place in 1915.

Auchmuty No.2 machine was made twin wire in in 1924 and in 1965 the machine calender stacks were removed and six 4 feet 6 inch diameter drying cylinders were added followed by two cooling rolls which were eventualy removed in 1967 and replaced by one stack of machine calenders.

Tullis Russell, 1969

Publication Account (1969)

The original Rothes No.1 Machine was built in the late 1820s by David Lindsay, who purchased the early Rothes Mill in 1814 from the heirs of the founder, William Keith, and was acquired by R. Tullis and Co., when they purchased the Mill in 1836 after the bankruptcy of David Lindsay. This No.1 machine ran for nearly 100 years until decommissioned in 1926. Since that date Tullis Russell had Rothes No. 1 machine. Some details recorded about this earlier machine were as follows: "The wire size of the old machine was 35inches 4 inches by 5 feet 2 inches. It was reckoned to be a 50 inch machine with one press, five drying cylinders and one three bowl calender stack. The production was one ton per 12 hour shift. It took 12 hours to change the wire and the crew was one machineman and one assistant. The assistant also operated a special slitter at the end of the machine for cutting up wallpaper, its major production. This was cut into 12 yard lengths, 22inches wide with 480 pieces, weighing 540 lbs. The assistant was paid the princely sum of 3d for cutting 240 lengths".

The Old No.1 Machine was "under the old Finishing House which gave it grand ventilation. there was a stuff chest in the corner. Then the Jack in the Box for regulating the flow of the stuff. Then the paddle wheel to lift the stuff into the sand traps. Then the Breast Box and Picker and onto the wire with a width of 54 inches. There was one set of Press Rolls, five Cylinders, three Calenders and at the Reel end, there was a Winder. At that time [c. 1900], seven men and six boys ran the mill on the night shift. There were two Machinemen, two Beatermen, one Kollergang man, one Digester man and one Fireman...One boy on the on No.2 Machine, two boys on No.1 as they ran their own Reeler, one Boy on No.1 Beaters and he put in the clay [filler]; one boy on No.2 Beaters and he put in the Alum and Size; and one boy on the Kollergang. He had to put their stuff in bags and wheel it up to the Beater floor. ..[Rothes] No.2 was shut down [c.1913] to change the wire and Sir David [Russell] came in and told them to scrap it. Throw it out in the yard and he would arrange to put in No.2 Machine from Auchmuty..." This Machine stood on a small stone building to the west of the Dry End of the present Rothes No.2 Machine. There was an octagonal chest in the south east corner and a Finishing House above. As already mentioned this machine was scrapped around 1926."

Tullis Russell (1969)

Publication Account (2011)

Rothes and Auchmuty Mills:

1800 Rothes Bleachfield built on the banks of the River Leven

1804 Rothes Mill, the first paper mill in Fife is built on the banks of the River Leven

1804 Land leased from the Earl of Rothes to build Auchmuty Mill (NO27724 701761)

1809 Robert Tullis buys Auchmuty Mill and forms R. Tullis and Co.

1836 R. Tullis and Co. acquires Rothes Mill (NO28228 01625)

1846 R. Tullis acquires the Rothes Bleachfield (NO280016)

1865 Mr Leigh Slater funds the paper coating business in Cheshire

1896 Henry and Leigh Slater Ltd is formed

1906 The name of the company changes to Tullis Russell and Co. Ltd

1917 Sixteen acres of previously leased land at Cadham is purchased including Cadham House (NO278019) and Cadham Farm

1927 A Filner-Jacobs forms Vulcanised Fibre Ltd with financial assistance form David Russell, Tullis Russell supply special paper for the manufacture of Vulcanised Fibre (closes 1983)

1944 Remainder of Auchmuty farmlands purchased

1951 Auchmuty farmland sold to Glenrothes Development Corporation for the new town of Glenrothes

1961 Tullis Russell and the American company Crocker, Burnbank and Co. form and association to manufacture capacitor papers. The Russell and Crocker Mill at Markinch which opens in 1963 starts to make capacitor tissue.

1963 Vulcanised Fibre becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tullis Russell.

1965 IPAC Ltd of Manchester who produce crepe paper for the electrical industries is acquired by Tullis Russell and manufacture transfers to the Russell and Crocker Mill at Markinch in 1969. This mill closes in 1995. Production of crepe paper transfers to Rothes Mill.

1982 Coated Papers Ltd founded

1984 Coated Papers Ltd of Cheddleton, Staffordshire is acquired . The company moves from Cheddleton to Bollington , Cheshire in 1989.

1898 Henry Sleigh Slater closes and Coated Papers ltd takes over the Bollington site.

1997 The Markinch Company becomes known as Tullis Russell Papermakers Ltd .

1999 Asia Pacific Speciality Coaters renamed Tulis Russell Coaters Korea Ltd in 2001.

2002 Hanley and Bollington sites amalgamated under the name Tullis Russell Coaters.

Tullis Russell Coated Papers Ltd, 2011

Publication Account (2011)

Rothes Mill

1804: Rothes Mill, first paper mill in Fife, but on the banks of the River Leven.

1828: Rothes No.1 machine (48 inches wide) starts up - one of the first paper machines in Scotland. Driven by a waterheel, originally only had one heated cylinder. Machine scrapped in 1926.

1836:6: R Tulis and Co. aquires Rothes MIll.

1846: Rothes Machine No.2 (60 inch wide wire) installed (later known as 'the old No.2'). Ran until 1913/14 when rebuilt using parts of the original Auchmuty No.2 machine. The 'new ' No.2 mMAchine at Rothes is remodelled in 1926, when new twin wire wet ends are added. The press section is rebuilt in 1930 and the drying cylinders are replaced in 1953. this machine closes in 1969. making most ly photographic paper prior to closure along wit blotting paper and vulcanised fibre.

1874: The raw material used to make paper are waste flax, yam, rags and esparto grass.

1911: Rothes No. 3 machine (79 inch wide wire) stars up. The machine is fitted with 'the first interlocked sectional electric drive' in 1915 and is the first to be converted to twin wire in 1923'. Dismantled 1935 and replaced by a new No.3 machine (96 inch wide wire) known as the Coronation machine. A twin wire machine of a more advanced design, it is opened 23rd April 1937. Closed October 1993, it was old to a paper company in India.

1915: First London Sales Office opens. The London Office finally closes in 1997.

1920s: Tullis Russell first paper company in the UK to introduce branding.

1925: Rothes No. 4 machine (100 inch wide wire) installed. Machine originally built by Bertrams Ltd (Edinburgj) for another mill in Lancashire. Two new wet ends installed i 1951, new Harland drive 1955. Machinwe closed in 2004 (79 years of service), dismantled 2005 and shipped to India.

1952: Paper production at Markinch (Rothes and Auchmuty Mills) reaches 24,000 imperial tons.

1977: Paper production at Markinch (Rothes and Auchmuty Mills) reaches 60,000 tonnes.

1995: Paper production at Markinch (Rothes and Auchmuty Mills) reaches 100,000 tonnes.

Rothes Mill site covering Rothes No. 2 machine and the Personnel Building demolished and the Biomass plant built on the site by 2015.

Tullis Russell. 2011


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