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History

The White Lion was built back in the 1880s, so it’s long been a part of Apsley life. Here is a timeline charting the wider story of the village and its paper mills – right back to the 13th century!

• 13th century - Ralf de Chenduit was granted land in the area. The local manor is still called Shendish Manor today.
• 1803 - First record of paper-making in the area, at nearby Frogmore.
• 1809 - John Dickinson, the inventor of a continuous mechanised papermaking process, purchased a corn mill in the valley and started making paper.
• 1811 - The Grand Junction Canal, later to be called the Grand Union Canal, opened to through-traffic. The original route of part of the canal was higher up the side of the valley, passing north of Belswains Lane. It put Apsley on the principal trade route from London to the north.
• 1836 - John Dickinson built his country house in nearby Nash Mills and called it Abbot's Hill. It is now a private school.
• 1838 - The London and Birmingham Railway passed through the valley adjacent to the site, but no station was built. Canals continued to be the primary commercial means of transport for Apsley's mills.
• 1853 - Charles Longman, heir to the publisher Longman's, and partner to John Dickinson, bought the Shendish estate and built an impressive manor house.
• 1871 - St. Mary's Church at Apsley End was opened for public worship; its construction was funded by Charles Longman.
• 1938 - Apsley railway station was built with backing from John Dickinson Ltd as a way to bring more people to work at the mills.
• 1939-1945 - John Dickinson's was at its peak, and employed more than 7,000 workers. It made munitions as well as paper and paper products.
• 1999 - The last paper mills owned by John Dickinson were finally shut.
• 2003 - A national paper museum was built to celebrate the links between the industry and the town.

One of the most historic buildings on the diverse landscape of London Road, the White Lion is more than 130 years old.

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