Watchet's industrial past
Like many harbour towns Watchet developed several small industries. The opportunity to bring in raw materials and export finished products gave entrepreneurs confidence. Among the varied industries were those like shipbuilding connected with the sea, milling using local produce and adding value before sending it to Bristol or South Wales and limeburning and metal working where the raw materials could be brought in cheaply to create products needed locally. The arrival of the railways in the mid 19th century encouraged further dreams of industrial wealth but the late 20th century saw the closure of many small businesses and the loss of the harbour and railway for commercial goods.
Sadly the paper mill closed on 24 December 2015. Efforts are being made to record it and its recent history and the archives are being assessed for long-term preservation.
For more about the economy of the area dip into volume five of the Victoria County History of Somerset.