Catalogue description Board of Ordnance Office and successors: Royal Gunpowder Factory and successors, Waltham Abbey: Maps and Plans

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Details of WO 385
Reference: WO 385
Title: Board of Ordnance Office and successors: Royal Gunpowder Factory and successors, Waltham Abbey: Maps and Plans
Description:

This series consists of maps and plans of the site and buildings of the Royal Gunpowder Factory and successors, Waltham Abbey, relating to the manufacture of gunpowder. It also contains maps and plans, accumulated at Waltham Abbey, of other gunpowder factory sites and small arms factory sites.

Date: 1783-1983
Related material:

See also DEFE 15

Separated material:

Duplicates, unmarked plans and maps not selected for permanent preservation in the PRO have been offered toEpping Forest District Museum.

For further records of the Chemical Research and Development Department see Ministry of Aviation, Division within AVIA

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: WASC 900 series
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Creator:

Ministry of Defence, Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, 1962-1991

Ministry of Supply, Chemical Research and Development Department, 1945-1948

Ministry of Supply, Explosives Research and Development Establishment, 1948-1958

Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey, 1783-1915

Royal Ordnance Factory, Waltham Abbey, 1915-1945

Physical description: 86 flat sheet(s)
Access conditions: Many records unfit for production
Immediate source of acquisition:

Ministry of Defence, Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment , in 1999

Accruals: No future accruals expected
Administrative / biographical background:

The Royal Gunpowder Factory lies north west of Waltham Abbey on the River Lee. The first formal evidence exists for the presence of a gunpowder mill on the abbey site or nearby in the 1640s. In 1689 the mill's owner was awarded a contract to supply the Ordnance Office and in 1783 the government purchased the mill; it was to become one of what were later known as the Royal Ordnance Factories. From around 1862 the output of the factory began to diversify as more potent chemically based explosives such as cordite were produced. Gunpowder production ceased at the factory in 1941 following enemy bombing and production ceased altogether in 1943.

The factory was formally closed as a Royal Ordnance Factory on 28 July 1945 and re-opened two days later as the Chemical Research and Development Department where research into explosives was carried out. In 1948, the department became the Explosives Research and Development Establishment and later became part of the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment.

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