The Paper Foundation-Handmade Paper Facility - Late Sept 2022 - UK 3

Dear Friends and Family,

Mark Cropper, head of The Paper Foundation and James Cropper Paper conglomeration, is located in a gorgeous part of England, in Kendal, near the English Lake District. Don and Mark have had some Zoom calls as they share an interest in re-creating Renaissance-style handmade paper. We were invited to visit their facilities, which we were excited to see. It turned out to be beyond our expectations.

Below are some of the greenhouses as you approach the handmade papermaking facility.

Speaking with one of the grounds keepers and with some of the staff.

The handmade papermaking facility is lovely, compact and stocked with many vintage paper moulds. These are only a few of them. As you can imagine, Don was drooling over these.

A collection of paddles for stirring the vats of paper pulp.

Don trying his hand at the vat.

Even their compost heaps are lovely.

The old family home, which Mark is currently restoring, now houses The Paper Institute. The Cropper family have been in the papermaking line for many generations. Mark once mentioned 10 generations in the paper business.

Inside, more antique paper moulds.

And some stages in the production of a watermark of a young queen.

The back side of the old family house. 

Era; Sam, an intern; Tom, the main handmade papermaker; Don and Tilly, the grant writer.

Later, at Mark’s father’s (James Cropper) farm/estate. It really looks like something from a Jane Austen novel.

Don, Mark and James viewing a giant Hollander beater near the barn.

A beautiful evening. We all went out to dinner at a wonderful pub with delicious food, but we somehow neglected to take any photos.

The next day Mark took us to his production commercial paper mill and gave us a tour. I took this rather horrible photo which doesn’t begin to capture the place or the village attached to it.


The James Cropper company has partnered with Hallmark to strip the plastic coating from paper coffee cups, repulp them, and make them into a card stock which Hallmark turns into cards. As far as I know, nobody is doing that in the USA.

This is a serious paper production facility. 

I probably haven’t given you a good feeling for how large this facility is, but it is huge. They do a lot of specialty papers used in rocket ships, airplanes, and carbon filters. My understanding is those specialty papers are very strong and lightweight. This has kept them alive and thriving when most hand paper mills have long gone out of business.

Paper waiting to be re-pulped and made into fresh new paper.

Love from Kendal, UK (outside of the Lake District)

Era and Don