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When a speaker failed to arrive, the club secretary knew how to solve the problem.

Monday, 3rd July 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 7:45 am

George Martin, former head of a Spittal Printing Firm, gave a history of paper using a script he had prepared in case the situation ever arose.

He was praised by chairman Harry Wilson and Rae Huntly, who gave the vote of thanks for stepping in.

Mr Martin said as far back as 3000 BC people had the urge to record, drawing images on clay tablets and other things before the plant papyrus developed. Ink came from burned pinewood.

The system had its drawbacks, but it became clear how vast amounts of water could provide paper mixed with conifer wood. The mix was boiled to provide fibres.

It was not until 1590 that the first British mill was built, and from then development was constant.

Mr Martin told how newspapers and books were made, and how the cost of paper had risen steadily from £400 to £1,500 a ton. He described the grades used in the printing trade.

He feared that technology had progressed to the stage where young people were so busy using email and texting that they were in danger of losing their knowledge of how to write.

He was sure there would be a continuing demand for paper and its use would never die out.