Catalogue description Ministry of Supply and successors: Explosives Research and Development Establishment: Registered Files

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Details of AVIA 67
Reference: AVIA 67
Title: Ministry of Supply and successors: Explosives Research and Development Establishment: Registered Files

Registered files of the Explosives Research and Development Establishment at Waltham Abbey including administration of the site and lands as well as research into explosives, especially propellants for guided missiles.

A technical organisation chart (Sept 1962) is in AVIA 67/8

Date: 1946-1976
Related material:

See also the records of the Director of Experiments and Research in


Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: (WA and XR Series)
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

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

Physical description: 41 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

Ministry of Defence , from 1992

Accruals: Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

From the 16th century gunpowder was manufactured at mills on the River Lea near Waltham Abbey, Essex, and the industry passed into government ownership in 1787.

By World War II, manufacture of more modern explosives was long established, and production had been centralised in the Royal Gunpowder Factory (RGPF). The factory was closed in 1945 but the site remained in use firstly as an outstation of the Armament Research Department (ARD), then as the Chemical Research and Development Department (CRDD) of the Ministry of Supply (changed again for a short period from a "Department" to an "Establishment", giving CRDE).

In 1948 the title was again changed to Explosives Research and Development Establishment (ERDE), which accurately described the nature of its work. Most of the ERDE's work was concerned with propellants, in later years mainly for guided weapons, though there were continuing programmes in other areas such as initiating compounds and research into non-metallic materials for defence use.

In 1977 ERDE was amalgamated with other organisations to become part of the Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment.

ERDE was under the control, firstly, of the Ministry of Supply, and then of the Ministry of Aviation (1959), the Ministry of Technology (1967), the Ministry of Aviation Supply (1970) and the Ministry of Defence (1971).

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