History & Heritage

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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

300 Years of History In The Beginning 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. Initially saltpetre was used as a…Read More
Historical Audio Tour

Historical Audio Tour

Historical Walk & 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. When you visit our site in …Read More
Book Shop

Book Shop

Historical 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. Printed & eBook …Read More
Archive

Archive

Royal Gunpowder Mills Archive History of the 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…Read More
Gunpowder Glossary

Gunpowder Glossary

Gunpowder Processing Glossary In Order of Manufacture Mixing: Mixing the three ingredients -saltpetre, sulphur, charcoal together -'green charge'. Incorporation: Pulverising and grinding together the green charge under edge runners in the incorporating …Read More
Chronology of Gunpowder

Chronology of Gunpowder

Chronology of Gunpowder Explosives & The Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Compiled by Richard Thomas DATEEVENTSUPERINTENDENTSWARS Pre 800s China, fire mixtures for warlike purposes with no saltpetre in mixture     By 800s Chines…Read More
Canal System

Canal System

Canal System Map of the Canal System  The 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…Read More
Narrow Gauge Railway

Narrow Gauge Railway

Narrow Gauge Railway Project THE HIDDEN Railway NEWS Keep up to date with the railway crew via their newsletters: THE HIDDEN Railway NEWS... THE HIDDEN Railway NEWS HRN January 2016 THE HIDDEN Railway NEWS - January 2016   HRN June 2015 THE…Read More
Industrial Archaeology

Industrial Archaeology

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.  Gunpowder The saltpetre melting and the ingredient mixing houses adjacen…Read More
ERIH

ERIH

European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) European Route of Industrial Heritage Website 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 Indu…Read More
Gunpowder History Group

Gunpowder History Group

Gunpowder & Explosives History Group A group focusing on the discussion of gunpowder history and exploration of relevant sites. An archive of the Gunpowder and Explosives History Group Newsletters can be accessed below. The History of the GEHG Th…Read More
Panoramas of the Mills

Panoramas of the Mills

Panoramas of the Mills Instructions: Click the small Arrow for in-browser panorama Click the big Arrow for full screen panorama Scroll right or left using the mouse or swiping Zoom with the mouse wheel or pinching in/out Click the Info button for a…Read More
Illustrated Talks

Illustrated Talks

Illustrated Talks about the Royal Gunpowder Mills  1 RIVER LEA or LEE – FROM LUTON TO LEYTONA journey from the source of the river in Luton to Old Ford Lock in London, with various digressions en route. The talk covers the history and development of the L…Read More
Paintings

Paintings

Paintings of the Royal Gunpowder Mills 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.The Collection …Read More