Listed buildings at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey: history and industrial archaeology

    Full details

    Authors & editors

    Tucker, Les [Author]

    Publisher Friends Association of the Royal Gunpowder Mills
    Year of publication 2004

    English (main text)

    Medium Book

    Manufacturing > Gunpowder & charcoal


    Scope & contentThis is a comprehensive book of all the history, buildings, structures and technology at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey from 1787 to its decommissioning in 1991. The book describes in considerable detail the earliest water-powered mills along the Millhead Stream, the Napoleonic blast protection walls, the remains of cordite production, offices, processing buildings, and the steam-powered Victorian gunpowder mills. The Royal Gunpowder Mills are described in an official report as "the most important site for the history of explosives in Europe". The majority of the buildings are listed at the highest level. Many of the world's major advances and research in gunpowder and explosive production, using a range of technologies, were made on the site from the 1660's to the 1990's, extending to rocket propellant. The listed buildings are unique surviving structures spanning the range of activities that was carried on for the Crown in conditions of secrecy for over 300 years until 1991 when the work was transferred to other centres. The site was opened to the public in 2001. The book drew extensively on the Waltham Abbey Archives, Special Document Collections and Image Collection. Chapter headings: The history of gunpowder and propellants; The Listed incorporating mills - steam produced gunpowder 1857-1897; The Listed incorporating mills - the cordite era and the rise of chemical science 1898-1943; Other cordite related listed buildings; the 1787 group; The power buildings; Other principal structures. Appendices: Listed buildings and a site map.

    Copies held

    Accession no. 22218

    • Shelf location: K230-TUC
    • Donor: Hugh Howes
    • Notes: Together with loose leaflet for visitors