Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills

Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills

Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills

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The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, (ERIH), set in of parkland and containing 21 buildings of major historical importance, mixes history, science, and attractive surroundings. It was one of three Royal Gunpowder Mills in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the other mills were at Ballincollig and Faversham, but is the only site to have survived virtually intact.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, were in operation for over 300 years; however, from the mid 1850s onwards the site was involved in developing new nitro-based explosives and propellants. The site grew in size, and gunpowder became less important. Shortly after World War II it became solely a Defence Research Establishment - firstly the Explosives Research and Development Establishment, then the Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment Waltham Abbey; and finally the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment Waltham Abbey. Its superior production methods and high quality results earned it a reputation on an international level and played a significant part in the rise of Great Britain as an international power.

Pre-Gunpowder use of the site

The story of gunpowder production at Waltham Abbey begins with a fulling mill for cloth production; originally set up by the monks of the Abbey on the Millhead Stream, an engineered water course tapping the waters of the River Lea. Mills were adaptable and in the...
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