Industrial Archaeology

The Royal Gunpowder Mills site is an important industrial monument containing one of the most extensive ranges of industrial archaeology in the country. Read more

The Gunpowder & Explosives History Group

The Gunpowder and Explosives History Group was set up in October 2000. We had first met in 1985, drawn together by Alan Crocker, Glenys Crocker, and Phil Philo, and had decided to call ourselves the Gunpowder Mills Study Group. Read more

Historical Walk and Audio Tour

Discover the science and history surrounding the manufacture of gunpowder and other explosives by taking our 23 point Online Audio Tour which can be listened to by clicking the speaker icons below. When you visit our site in person, you may also take our Self Guided Audio Tour by scanning the QR Codes on each Information Panel with your Mobile phone. Read more


After the closure of ERDE, the archive material inherited passed through a number of hands and storage locations, particularly in the latter period before opening to the public, when outside staff from the firm designing the exhibition had to have free access. Consequently by 2004 the Archive had become rather disorganised. Read more

Why So Important?

Internationally, the Royal Gunpowder Mills is amongst a handful of places associated with the manufacture of explosives dating back many centuries which have subsequently been preserved and opened to the public. Read more

300 Years of History

Gunpowder is a mixture of the natural products saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal. Its beginnings are obscure... Read more

The Armoury

Two shots a minute from a musket three hundred years ago, to over fifteen hundred from a WW2 machine gun, the history of firearms is a story of amazing technical development and inventiveness. Read more

Railway History

Up until January 1917 all rolling stock was moved by manual labour, but with the demands of the First World War, locomotives were introduced to move explosives and propellants around the site, plus bring in raw materials from the standard gauge railway at the Royal Small Arms Factory which lay to the south of the Royal Gunpowder Mills. Read more