A Pretty Girl – Ultrasonics – A Watermark

11th May 2016

Winchester Cathedral

Watermarked image on handmade paper at Laverstoke Mill 1960’s

This is a watermarked image given to me in 1991, but the story behind this goes back to 1963 .

At this time I was working as a draftsman for Pitt Trailers Barton Stacey when I first saw this beautiful girl the had just joined the company . I don’t recall our first date but we shared many walks along the lanes of the village and later married.
My career path lead me to working at Plessy’s a secret research establishment near Romsey – Roke Manor where such things as Hawkeye the tennis adjudication system and EPL’s Goal Line tech was developed . I was then working on ECM’s ( Electronic Counter Measures aka Jammers ) along with Ultrasound Fetal detection and using ultrasonics for micro machining ceramic components and welding fine electrical wire connections.

Back to the pretty girl ; I was introduced to her large family of Coopers, the youngest of which, Hilda , Lived in Freefolk , had two young daughters Alison and Susan who we often baby sat . Hilda’s husband Chas. Mitchell was the general manager of Laverstoke Mill that produced watermarked Banknote paper. He and I got on very well and discussed many things including his business.

At this time Laverstoke Mill produced the watermarking moulds for the bank note paper used around the world . This is a precise, time consuming process and hence very expensive . My work with ultrasonic welding seemed to offer a less costly option which I shared with Chas at that time . I do not know if he implemented this or not as for bank security reasons their work was very secret .

Move on now to 1991,  I am living in Canada with a picture framing business specialising in conservation work . I read reports from England that many of UK’s fine handmade paper mills are closing and thinking that Laverstoke could soon follow I contacted Chas, by then then retired, and asked if any images were available . True to his nature he sent me the above image along with a set of his own watermarked stationary which I duly conservation framed between glass .

Updated May 19th

My research has taken on a life of its own. Having contacted and been given help  from Jean Stirk and Peter Bower I have found info at http://calm.hants.gov.uk/Overview.aspx which suggests that this image is a comemorative of Her Majesty the Queen distributing “Maundy Money ” at Winchester Cathedral Christmas 1979 and may have be created from a pen and ink drawing of the cathedral by Reg Walters dated 1979 also in the archive .

There is a strong correlation here :

with this information about Winchester Cathedral and the Portal family:

“And another unidentified one, the excellent memorial to the Portal family, with portraits of the two most illustrious members in stone, and a full sized angel with uplifted wings, long hair and a symbolist face of art nouveau date. The arresting picture is completed with good drapery, clinging on the body, swirling round the feet.”

Laverstoke Mill 2016

Laverstoke Mill is now the home of Bombay Gin and thus far I have not been able to find out much about the last days of this historic handmade paper facility or its skilled staff.  Should any readers have information to share in particular about the artists who created these beautiful works of art please contact me . thornton.tom1@gmail.com

Here are links to related documents and materials :

Hand Made Paper :


Watermarking :



Ultrasonic Welding



Laverstoke Mill History:




Portal History :