Hereford & Worcester

Event marks 100th anniversary of Blackpole munitions factory opening

Site Image copyright Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Image caption The site was used during both world wars

An event has been held to mark the 100th anniversary of a small munitions factory opening in Worcester.

The Blackpole Munitions Factory produced 200 million bullets in two years during World War One and returned to production during World War Two.

Talks about the site were held at a free event at The Hive.

A survey of the surviving buildings was being organised and volunteers have been invited to be "trained in rapid building survey," The Hive said.

Image copyright Worcs Archive and Archaeology Service
Image caption This photo was taken in the "case shop" on 30 June 1919 - wooden barrels placed in the middle of the aisles labelled "bullet"

One of the hundreds of those employed at the factory - many of them women - was Kath Smith. She said it was "dirty and noisy" but "the harder you worked, the more money you got".

She said: "The best part... was the spam and chips we had once a week. Well they were quite a luxury in those days.

"I think the hardest job I ever had... was a great big gas rig... and there [were] little holes and you had to fill these up... and it was so hot in the summer and if you let your finger go far down, you burnt it."

Aisling Nash, a historic environment advisor in Worcestershire, said: "As an archaeologist we're very much focused on the physical remains that we find and I think sometimes we can lose a little bit of the story of the people behind those artefacts and those buildings.

"So I think it's very, very difficult to try and find a story of the people, but I think it's something we can't forget about."

The event also included the launch of a new book, Blackpole Munitions Factory, Worcester, by the late Colin Jones.

Between the wars and again after World War Two the factory was given over to Cadbury's for the production of cakes.

It is now Blackpole East industrial estate.

Image copyright Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Image caption Volunteers have been invited to take part in a survey of the site as it is now

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