Sudbrook paper mill comes crashing down
FINGER ON THE BUTTON: Billy Lee aged three with dad David, watched by Robin Rustforth as he presses the button to blow up the mill
THIS was the scene when a paper mill that stood for more than 50 years came to a crashing end.
More than 100 former workers and locals came out on a sunny Thursday afternoon to see the towers of the St Regis Sudbrook Paper Mill demolished.
The plant employed people from the village and surrounding towns - including three generations of one family.
Lee Demolition used 14 tonnes of nitroglycerine to fell the buildings, with company owner David Lee’s son Billy, aged three, pressing the button to activate the blast.
It took just a couple seconds for the towers to fall.
Experts decided to demolish the towers as the railway bridge could not take the heavy plant machinery needed to dismantle the tower piece by piece.
At least 100 people came to witness the event, including three generations of 82-year-old Dick Winser’s family.
The 82-year-old from Caldicot started working for the firm in 1958 when the mill was still being built.
His son Desmond, 58, also from Caldicot, was as an electrical technician between 1967 and 1976, while grandsons David, 33, and Adrian, 31, worked for the mill in its later years.
The youngest is still employed by owner St Regis, having become part of the de-commissioning team when it was shut in 2005, and is now overlooking the demolition work.
Despite several members of his family learning their trades there, Dick Winser said he was pleased to see it going.
He said:”It made a good living for people when it was there, but it is an eyesore now.”
The Sudbrook Mill closed in 2006, after rises in energy costs made the plant uneconomic.
At least 135 people were employed when it closed, with 250 at its peak in the 1970s and 80s.
St Regis is currently looking to sell the site.