Catalogue description Low Wood Gunpowder Works Summary List

This record is held by Lancashire Archives

Details of DDLO
Reference: DDLO
Title: Low Wood Gunpowder Works Summary List

Accounts (1789-1842)


DDLO/Box 5/Bundles 1-13 (1800-1836)


DDLO/Box 10/Bundles 1-29 (1798-1842)


DDLO/Box 23/Bundles 1-7 (1799-1837)


DDLO/Box 27/Bundles 1-6 (1801-1819)


DDLO/Box 28/Bundles 1-5 (1800-1840)


DDLO/Box 29/Bundles 1,5-7 (1789, 1799-1814)


DDLO/Box 34/Bundles 5-6, 11, 15-16 (1804-1834)


DDLO/Box 35/Bundles 1-13 (1798-1839)


DDLO/Box 36 FRAGILE (1809-1814, 1825-1831)


DDLO/Box 37/Bundles 2, 19 (1838-1839)


Receipts (1798-1846)


DDLO/Box 7/Bundles 1-8 (1832-1839)


DDLO/Box 26/Bundles 1-15 (1798-1804)


DDLO/Box 29/Bundles 4, 8 (1799-1800, 1834)


DDLO/Box 30/Bundles 1-11 (1809-1831)


DDLO/Box 33/Bundles 1-6 (1840, 1842-1846)


DDLO/Box 34/Bundles 1, 14 (1815-1825)


DDLO/Box 37/Bundle 16 (1829-1830)


Correspondence (1798-1840)


DDLO/Box 1/Bundles 1-18 (1798-1838)


DDLO/Box 2/Bundles 1-13 (1798-1803)


DDLO/Box 3/Bundles 1-9 (1799-1804)


DDLO/Box 4/Bundles 1-51 (1806-1808)


DDLO/Box 6/Bundles 1-12 (1802-1805)


DDLO/Box 8/Bundles 1-38 (1812-1815)


DDLO/Box 9/Bundles 1-26 (1809-1811)


DDLO/Box 11/Bundles 1-23 (1815-1816)


DDLO/Box 12/Bundles 1-20 (1822-1823)


DDLO/Box 13/Bundles 1-26 (1820-1821)


DDLO/Box 14/Bundles 1-21 (1824-1825)


DDLO/Box 15/Bundles 1-21 (1826-1827)


DDLO/Box 16/Bundles 1-15 (1829-1830)


DDLO/Box 17/Bundles 1-5 (1828)


DDLO/Box 18/Bundles 1-23 (1833-1834)


DDLO/Box 19/Bundles 1-24 (1831-1832)


DDLO/Box 20/Bundles 1-15 (1838)


DDLO/Box 21/Bundles 1-12 (1837)


DDLO/Box 22/Bundles 1-25 (1835-1836)


DDLO/Box 24/Bundles 1-12 (1839)


DDLO/Box 25/Bundles 1-14 (1840)


DDLO/Box 29/Bundles 2-3 (1802-1815)


DDLO/Box 32/Bundles 1-39 (1817-1819)


DDLO/Box 34/Bundle 8 (early 19th cent)


Personal Papers (1782-1839)


Mostly Daye Barker's personal receipts, some correspondence


DDLO/Box 34/Bundles 2-4, 7, 9, 12-13 (1782, 1791, 1800-1816, 1819-1839)


Property Records (1827)


DDLO/Box 34/Bundle 3 (1827)


Miscellaneous Records (1796-1838)


Business matters other than the Gunpowder Works, printed items, plans, etc


DDLO/Box 34/Bundle 10 (late 18th/early 19th cent)


DDLO/Box 37/Bundles 1, 3-15, 17-18 (1796, 1802, 1804, 1806, 1817, 1822, 1826, 1829-1830, 1834, 1837-1838, 19th cent)


The boxes within this collection are not arranged in any kind of subject or date order.

Related material:

See the short history by Glenys Crocker The Low Wood Gunpowder Works (class ref: M59 CRO in the Local Studies Library).


See also DDX 166/14 and DDX 1507/1/1-26 for other correspondence relating to Low Wood Gunpowder Works.

Held by: Lancashire Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Low Wood Gunpowder Works

Access conditions:

Please do not fill out document request slips based on this index. Please always check the relevant box list to make sure you are ordering the documents you wish to see and using the correct references. This helps staff produce the documents you need quickly


If you are working through a particular class of records you can order up a box at a time. Some of the bundles may be fragile and will not be produced. Full details are given in the relevant box lists.


If you are looking at specific years, please check the box lists to identify the relevant bundles and fill out slips for these (one Bundle per slip). You can order three bundles at a time.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by D A While in November 1954. Additional material transferred from Cumbria Record Office, Barrow on behalf of Mr While in July 1987. (accessions 1113 & 6106)

Administrative / biographical background:

The Low Wood Gunpowder Works were established at Haverthwaite on the River Leven, south of Windermere, in the late 18th century. The first licence to manufacture gunpowder at the works was issued at the Lancaster Quarter Sessions on 2 October 1798. The company was formed by Daye Barker (the senior partner), James King, Christopher Wilson junior and Captain Joseph Fayrer (who also acted as the company's Liverpool agent). The company was officially known as Daye Barker & Co, but reference among the papers listed below is also made to the Low Wood Gunpowder Co.


Initial sales were of gunpowder used in the slave trade (known as "Africa" powder), as well as powder for ships. Until the abolition of slavery in Britain in 1807, the gunpowder formed part of the triangular slave trade route, being exported to Africa where it was exchanged for the slaves who were then transported to the Americas and sold, the ships returning to Britain laden with sugar, cotton & tobacco. After the end of slave trading by British ships, Low Wood concentrated on the manufacture of blasting powder for use in the mining and quarrying industries.


Daye Barker died in 1835 and his son (also called Daye) succeeded him in partnership with one of his brothers, John Barker. The firm suffered a decline from the 1860s, with the advent of modern explosives, and was sold to W H Wakefield & Co (a competing gunpowder firm) in 1882. In 1926, all remaining gunpowder producers were taken over by ICI, who modernised the Low Wood plant in 1928. The Low Wood mills finally closed in 1935.

Link to NRA Record:

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