Verla Groundwood and Board Mill (1996)
Finland

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The Verla groundwood and board mill and its associated residential area is an outstanding, remarkably well-preserved example of the small-scale rural industrial settlements associated with pulp, paper and board production that flourished in northern Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Only a handful of such settlements survives to the present day. 

Finland 2001. Souvenir sheet from Verla Groundwood and Board Mill containing four individual stamps.

1872 - The era of Hugo Neuman
Hugo Neuman founded the Verla Groundwood Mill in 1872, but it was to be short-lived. He could not afford to enlarge it, and production came to an end when the mill was destroyed by fire in 1876.

1882 - New groundwood and board mills
In 1882 Gottlieb Kreidl and Louis Haenel, two master papermakers at Kuusankoski, founded a new, bigger groundwood mill and with it a board mill. One of the shareholders was a consul from Vyborg called Wilhelm Dippell.

1906 - Limited company
Wilhelm Dippell having died in 1906, Verla became a limited company called the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. Little changed until 1920, when the mill was bought by Kissakoski, a wood-processing company.

1922 - Kymi
In 1922 the shares passed to Kymi (now the UPM-Kymmene Corporation). The mill then continued to operate almost as before for another 40 years or so, though gradually winding down. The biggest investments were a new dam in the 1920s and a bigger hydro power plant in 1954. 

1964 - Verla dies a natural death
Verla died a natural, painless death. When the last of the old workers reached retiring age or moved elsewhere, the machines were switched off and the doors closed on 18 July 1964. 

The hydro power plants on the Verlankoski rapids continued to supply electricity for the local area. The latest power plant, in the traditional Verla red-brick style, was commissioned on the opposite bank of the rapids in 1995. This plant is owned by the power company in nearby Kouvola. 

History lives on in the documentary
A documentary film showing how board was made at Verla was shot on the day the mill closed down. Part of the Museum tour, it gives a living picture of the way the work was done at Verla.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Finland (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Finland for further information about the individual properties.   

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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