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Charles Townsend Hook (1832-1877)

In 1854-55, at the age of  twenty-two, Charles Townsend Hook acquired the Snodland mill and he and his rest of the Hook family all moved to 'Acacia cottage' in Snodland High Street, which had been the home for previous papermaker masters.

Charles Townsend Hook had the enterprise and energy to turn the paper mill into a very successful business.  An initial output of 5 tons weekly rose to 70 tons by the time of his death in 1877. New methods were employed in the manufacture, especially straw boiling, a process which CTH patented. Following Charles death ownership of the mill passed to his siblings, Edith, Maude, Agnes and Eustace, but they appointed Lieutenant Colonel  Trevenan James Holland to be manager.

Due to his religious beliefs Charles felt a clear sense of duty towards his workers and their families. This manifested itself in a great number of philanthropic acts. Between 1854 and 1877 he built more than 90 cottages for his workers at a cost of approximately £11,000. He built a beer house close to the mill entrance, established a co-operative store and provided coal free of charge to all his employees. Charles also supported the founding of a Sunday School linked to the Swedenborg chapel and substantially expanded the British School, which he purchased in 1872.

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'The Medway Valley: A Kent Landscape Transformed' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-600-7) for the England's Past for Everyone series

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