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Friends of the Royal Gunpowder Mills

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The Friends Association have recently been registered as a charity which means that donations and annual subscriptions attract repayment of tax from the Inland Revenue through the Gift Aid scheme. This will be a welcome addition to the funds of the Association which, in turn, means that the Association will be in a better position to fund special projects for the site. Registered Charity No. 1115237. 

If you wish to make a Donation, please print and return the Friends Gift Aid Declaration Form.

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Friends Annual General Meeting: 5/5/2017

Background

The town of Waltham Abbey has had a long association with the manufacture of and research into explosives. From at least the 17th century the site to the north of the town was a gunpowder factory which was taken into public ownership in 1787 to become the Royal Gunpowder Factory and supplied the country with gunpowder for the Napoleonic Wars. Subsequently, the output expanded to include other, more powerful explosives and, for many years was the prime supply of cordite gun propellant. Expansion took place in the 19th century and a second site was opened to the south of the town.

At the end of WWII it became the country's prime research establishment for explosives, gathering together many scientists and engineers from all over the British Isles. Following rationalisation of the Government Research Establishments, both sites finally closed in 1991.

The South Site had by this time been handed over to Royal Ordnance PLC and this site is currently being developed for housing, commercial and leisure use.

The northern part was retained by the Ministry of Defence and was recognised as an unique site of significant historical and scientific interest. In addition, because of the closed nature of the site for the last 200 years, there is a very diverse ecology of flora and fauna which is to be protected. For example, within the site is one of the largest heronries in Essex. A decision was been taken to develop this site as a national interpretative centre for historical and educational purposes and an Heritage Lottery Grant was obtained for its development.

The first phase of development opened to the public in 2001 and further development phases will continue for some years.

Friends Association

It is recognised that many people have an interest in and could give valuable assistance to the project. To this end, a Friends Association has been set up and you are invited to join. All Friends Association Members visiting the site will be eligible for a substantial discount, on production of their membership cards.

Objectives

1. To bring together those sharing a common interest in the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mill Site. Such interest may include historical, archaeological, educational, social and technical matters associated with the site.

2. To promote the site as a national interpretive centre and, where possible, to render assistance to the Operating Company in the development and running of the site.

Touchpaper Newsletter

Touchpaper is the Newsletter of the Royal Gunpowder Mills Friends Association. Published quarterly, 'Touchpaper', gives details and news of the development of the site and articles of historic and scientific interest. Touchpaper is published in March, June, September and December each year.   

Member's Concession

Members of the Association are eligible for a substantial reduction in entry fee when visiting the site (currently 50% of the standard adult ticket) on production of your membership card.

Friends Association Merchandise

The Association has a current stock of Member’s Ties bearing the Gunpowder Incorporating Mill logo.

We are also publishing a series of booklets on various aspects of the site at a special reduced price for members.

For details of how to order these and any other Association material contact the Treasurer.

Membership Fees

An annual subscription has been set for various classes of membership.

Membership includes a subscription to Touchpaper, either in print or by email. (The email version is in PDF format with colour graphics.)

Payment should accompany the Registration Form. Membership Fees are eligible for Gift Aid (details below).

MEMBERSHIP   WITH PRINTED TOUCHPAPER   WITH EMAILED TOUCHPAPER
Adult   £9   £7
Family   £13   £10

 

Registration Forms

If you wish to make a become a member of the Friends Association, please download, print and return the Friends Registration Form...  

Gift Aid - The Friends Association have recently been registered as a charity which means that donations and annual subscriptions attract repayment of tax from the Inland Revenue through the Gift Aid scheme. This will be a welcome addition to the funds of the Association which, in turn, means that the Association will be in a better position to fund special projects for the site.

Please download, print and return the Friends Gift Aid Declaration Form... 

Volunteer Programme

The Operating Company also runs a Volunteer Programme for all those wishing to assist in the general running of the site, general site maintenance and special development projects. If you have any time to spare, no matter how infrequent, we hope you will join this programme.

Click here for more information on Volunteering...