Hugh Gristwood

(Group engineering)

2002/97, Hugh Gristwood interviewed in his own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 16/10/2002Mr Gristwood worked as a project engineer in Group engineering for Inveresk. He office was based at Kinleith Mill between 1965 and 1969.

000 Went into boiler firm straight from school. Boilers for diesel trains and shipping. 15 years

026 Served apprenticeship in Heriot Watt

035 1964 mills decided that they had no investment in papermills. They wanted to develop and were recruiting and advertising. Got job through a chap that worked in Bruce Peebles

064 Machinery, description of changes electrically. Joined Inveresk papermills.

081 Wookey Hole Mill, airmail papermill

090 Group engineering office in the middle of Kinleith

098 Esparto grass boilers were being demolished

110 Engineers, boilermakers. 30 in group engineering looking for those with knowledge of certain trades.

121 Kinleith was never intended to bring up to standard. Most people who lived locally worked in the mills.

134 Railway siding took boiler ash from 2 boilers, taken to make breezeblocks.

161 The moon, white fibre and lime dumped on land looked like the moon. Latterly planted trees on land. Big amount of coal used.

178 Interview, desperate for people who knew about boilers.

193 Mills he had responsibility for, Donside rebuilding of preparation plant, putting in turbines

204 All houses in village to give electricity from mill. Steam from turbine heated the drums. Description of drying of paper.

229 Draw out diagrammatic of Donside, chimney had to be changed. Size of flues. New fittings at Donside.

257 A year and a half at Donside. New coating plant.

273 Highland chieftain, new process of coating paper. Based in Donside latterly. 3 months of planning at Donside and then went up to mill.

291 Group engineering offices just built when he started; the team had been working for a year. Doing planning for all mills in UK.

301 People at Kinleith not aware that they were not being developed. Kinleith very old fashioned.

312 Not involved in politics of Kinleith, not aware that it was being closed. Caldwells of Inverkeithing being redeveloped. Kinleith very old fashioned.

328 Big shock to people when the mill closed. Saying in Currie and Balerno about chimney.

340 Description of chimney, after Kinleith closed. Still heating Woodhall so chimney still going. Boilermen still working in the mill.

353 Not involved in the social side. Traveled into work. Moved into mill housing after mill closed and was given option to buy. Workers would not try and buy mill housing that was meant for staff. People stuck to what they felt was their station.

387 Could get houses at 80% of price because worked in the mill.

398 Strong sense of community built around the mill. Mill worked 24 hours

411 Glenburn House was originally Henry Bruce's house. There was a house inside the mill that was latterly used for offices.

426 1/3 of the mill used to store esparto. 100's of different buildings

434 Drawing of Kinleith. Lade that ran through. Description of building

444 Pond held water, which was pumped.

451 Hours worked in group engineering.

461 Never worked in Kinleith. Put in coating plant from Linlithgow. Didn't work. Put in 1965, hearts weren't in it, decision had already been made.

476 Berry scrap merchant set up company in Crieff to rejuvenate old machines and sold them. He took the machinery from Kinleith.

485 Employed by Berry's to sketch out Galloways machines. After closure a company in Fife used the blade coater at Galloways for two to three years.

506 Sketched machine for 5 to 6 weeks in the evenings. Found it eerie, so quiet with 2 machines.

516 Watchmen at mill. Has some of wood from old salle benches. All he could take for £5.

542 Mills guarded by former employees.

552 Stories watchmen would tell about their early years

570 Esparto grass arriving by lorry. Train would take away ash. Blocks were cut from settling pond, 4 to 5 men.

625 Caldwells took employees, others transferred from Inveresk.

657 He went to Duraplex in 1969. They were still redeveloping Northfleet and St Cuthberts. When he got back they were getting rid of people in Group engineering.

694 Spent time being a hatchet man, finding reasons to close mill down. Picked on to do job. But he recommended that they kept it open and invested a little, still running now.

719 Health and safety not as paramount; 2 men to take huge rolls of paper from store to finishing house wheeling down hill and one slip and they're dead.

767 Flying splice, paper tail under drum, a lot of people caught in that. Health and safety coming in from 1968 onwards

780 Plastics industry less advanced in 1970s, many accidents. Involved in building guards. No guards at Kinleith.

820 No suggestion schemes. Inveresk magazine.

836 Two people involved in boilers and turbines. People in group engineering were papermakers from Bertrams. Machines put in mills, needed those with expertise in papermaking machines.

860 Electricians in group engineering. Most from group engineering came from outwith Inveresk.

877 Made it possible for modernisation of mills. 8 million pounds put into Donside. Could not keep up payments.

894 Narrow investment then forced to sell mill. Bowater Reid bought Donside.

904 Northfleet mill on much larger scale, a community.

919 End.

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