Although there is no evidence that Guy Fawkes, (the man connected with the Gunpowder Plot) sourced the black powder from Waltham Abbey's gunpowder mill, we like to play up to the possibility to the hilt, by celebrating with a great Guy Fawkes festival and a special Gunpowder, Treason and Plot education programme for schools.
The Royal Gunpowder Mills has a long and fascinating history. It played an essential part in military history and national defense, as well as the development of civil industries such as mining and quarrying . It is a story with humble beginnings, of a family run business, which prospered and grew to become Crown property and a major local employer of workers in the Lea Valley and beyond, where people risked their lives to earn a crust. It became an ever expanding factory, constantly adapting to new technology, pulling in more and more workers to meet the demands of warfare across the empire, so growing and altering the shape of Waltham Abbey. Discover how the factory rose to the enormous challenges of WW1, with the sudden arrival of women to work at the factory, all unskilled and reaching at least 3,000 by the end of the war, and why a one-legged stool was a crucial health and safety implement. Explore its final phase from WW2 as a top-secret research centre for Cold War inventions and rocketry.
On an Open Day you can enjoy an introductory film, exhibtions, an armoury, explore listed buildings and take a guided land train tour around the 170 acres of historic buildings and woodland. We are family-friendly and have fun stuff for kids. What's On has details of special tours for an in-depth experience of history. Groups of 20 people or more can discuss a day to visit or take a tour at any time of year.
For more information on our next open day or when you can visit click here
** More information on our history will be coming soon.