Open Sunday's between June & July with 20% off - Find Out More 

 Professor Nitrate's Summer Of Science - Open Every Sunday , Monday ,   Tuesday & Wednesday between July 22 and August 29  Find Out More

History & Heritage

incorporatingmill_L157_550.jpg

The Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey is an important heritage site with a remarkable true story. The charity which runs the attraction is committed to conserving and sharing the fascinating 300 year history with future generations.

Explore Our History


 

300 Years of History

300 Years of History

Gunpowder is a mixture of the natural products saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal. Its beginnings are obscure, but it most probably originated in China after saltpetre was discovered. Read More
Historical Audio Tour

Historical 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. Read More
Book Shop

Book Shop

We sell a number of books about the history of the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, and its important contribution to the development of gunpowder, explosives and rocket propellants from 1787 to the present. Read More
Archive

Archive

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 acc…Read More
Gunpowder Glossary

Gunpowder Glossary

Gunpowder Processing Glossary. Read More
Chronology of Gunpowder

Chronology of Gunpowder

Chronology of Gunpowder, Explosives and The Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Compiled by Richard Thomas. Read More
Canal System

Canal System

The Millhead Stream was used as a canal for the smooth and safe delivery of raw materials and collection of gunpowder. By 1800 the system had been further extended by the building of new mills on the banks of the old River Lea and the connection of these t…Read More
Narrow Gauge Railway

Narrow Gauge Railway

Scattered traces survive to show that there was a network of railways at the Royal Gunpowder Mills as extensive as the waterways. Railways did not come here until new steam – powered mills were built from 1856 to help meet the demands of the Crimean War. T…Read More
Industrial Archaeology

Industrial Archaeology

The saltpetre melting and the ingredient mixing houses adjacent to the exhibition centre date from the time of Government purchase in 1787 and mark the beginning of the application of scientific method to gunpowder manufacture. Read More
ERIH

ERIH

The 4th of July, 2007, was a great date to launch “The Industrious East” with a bang from the Rocket Troop of the 95th Rifles at Royal Gunpowder Mills. “The Industrious East” is a network of industrial heritage sites that are part of the European Route of …Read More
Gunpowder History Group

Gunpowder 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
Panoramas of the Mills

Panoramas of the Mills

360 degree Panoramas of the Mills. Read More
Illustrated Talks

Illustrated Talks

Illustrated Talks about the Royal Gunpowder Mills by Richard Thomas. Read More
Paintings

Paintings

Step back in time to explore an explosive past through the vision of the artists who have painted the sights and scenes at the Royal Gunpowder Mills. Read More