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British Industrial History

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National Shell Factories

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Factories set up in WWI to increase output of small ammunition shells.

General

As a means of increasing output of small ammunition shells, various local Munitions Committees organised themselves throughout the country to increase production. These committees represented the smaller engineering firms, many of which had acted as sub-contractors to the major armament companies.

The first group of factories to be set up were National Shell Factories in the Leeds area, where a number of engineering firms co-operated in the production of light shells.

Each National Shell Factory was run by a local board of management that represented the main engineering companies in the area. The urgency of the situation demanded that factories were to be established in existing buildings such as railway workshops, textile mills and tramway depots[1]

NSF

* NSF Aberdeen (80 Spring Gardens)

Originally workshops of McKinnon Ltd. Opened: March 1917. Munitions: 6in shell. Notes: known as the "Spring Garden Iron Works".

* NSF Barnsley - No. 1 Dominion Works (Johnson Street)

Original function: unknown. Opened: January 1916. Management: Barnsley Board of Management. Munitions: 4.5in shell.

* NSF Barnsley - No. 2 Hope Works (Sackville Street)

Original function: weaving shed. Opened: October 1917. Management: Barnsley Board of Management. Munitions: 6in shells.

* NSF Birmingham - Washwood Heath - Midland Works

Original function: Midland Railway Carriage and Wagon Co Ltd's Wagon Works. Opened: January 1916. Management: Birmingham Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in and 18-pdr. shells and cartridge cases.

* NSF Bradford - Valley Dyeworks (Valley Road)

Original function: dyeworks. Opened: 26 June 1915. Management: Bradford Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in shell, fuses and gaines.

* NSF Bristol - St. Philips Marsh (Victoria Road)

Original function: "Castle" iron works of J. Priest and Son Ltd. Opened: early 1916. Management: West of England Board of Management. Munitions: 18-pdr. HE and shrapnel.

* NSF Bury - Central Tramway Depot

Original function: tram depot. Opened: September 1915. Management: Bury Munitions Committee Munitions: 4.5in and 18-pdr. and rectifying shell.

* NSF Cardiff - Grangetown (Ferry Road)

Original function: spinning hemp and yarn shop and another building owned by the Taff Railway Company Opened: early 1916. Management: Cardiff Board of Management. Munitions: 18-pdr. shell, 60-pdr. shell heads and 6in proof shot

* NSF Carlisle - Drill Hall, Strand Road

Opened 1916. Munitions: 18-pdr. shell; rectifying proof shot

* NSF Carnarvon - "Vulcan Foundry"

Original function: foundry belonging to Humphrey Owen and Sons. Opened: after October 1915. Management: local board of management. Munitions: 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. shell.

* NSF Chester

Original function: tramway depot. Opened: August 1915. Management: Chester Munitions Committee. Munitions: 18-pdr. and 2.75in shell.

* NSF Chiswick - Stand-on-Green

Original function: motor works of the Ailsa Craig Motor Co. Opened: mid 1916. Management: Metropolitan Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in shell. Notes: became National Projectile Factory.

* NSF Cork - North Main St

Opened 1917. Munitions: 4.5-in. shell.

* NSF Derby - Peel Foundry (Darwen Terrace)

Original function: foundry of Russell and Sons Ltd. Opened: December 1915. Management: Derby Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in, 4.7in, 60-pdr., 6in shell heads and aero-engine cylinders.

* NSF Dublin (Parkgate St)

Opened 1915 Munitions: 18-pdr. shell

* NSF Dundee (51-63 Mains Road)

Original function: jute mills belonging to Crimond of Dundee. Opened: September 1915. Management: local board of management. Munitions: 18-pdr. and 2.75in shell, forgings and burster containers.

* NSF East Cumberland - Carlisle (Strand Road) Original function: the Territorial Force Association Hall and Rifle Drill Hall. Opened: 18 September 1915. Management: Munitions Committee of East Cumberland. Munitions: 18-pdr. HE shells and 18-pdr. smoke shells, rectifying proof shot.

* NSF Ebbw Vale

Original function: Ebbw Vale Steel Iron and Coal Co factory. Opened: June 1915. Management: local board of management. Munitions: 18-pdr. and 60-pdr. shell. Notes: closed down July 1916.

* NSF Galway

Opened 1917. Munitions: 19-pdr. shell

* NSF Grimsby (Victoria Street)

Original function: herring-curing factory. Opened: 4 December 1915. Management: Grimsby Engineers. Munitions: 4.5in and 6in shells.

* NSF Hartlepool - Central Marine Engine Works

Original function: marine engine factory. Opened: mid. 1917. Management: Central Marine Engine Works. Munitions: 8in shell. Notes: closed in December 1917

* NSF Huddersfield (Fitzwilliam St./Viaduct St/Green Street)

Originally: derelict factory. Opened: November 1915. Management: Huddesfield Munitions Committee. Munitions: 18-pdr. shell and shell heads.

* NSF Keighley - No. 1 (Dalton Lane)

Premises rented from Price Smith and Son Ltd. Opened: autumn 1915. Management: Keighley Board of Management. Munitions: 18-pdr. HE and chemical, 6-pdr. anti-aircraft shell and 6in shell heads.

* NSF Keighley - No. 2. (Dalton Lane)

Premises rented from Hall and Steels Ltd. Opened: by September 1918. Management: Keighley Board of Management. Munitions: 4.5in and 18-pdr. shell casings.

* NSF Leeds (Armley Road)

Original function: railway carriage shops rented from Leeds Forge Company Ltd. Opened: September 1915. Management: Leeds Forge Co Ltd. and the Gun Manufacture Department. Munitions: 6in and 18-pdr. shell. Notes: became National Ordnance Factory No. 3. for the rifling of guns.

* NSF Leeds - Newlay

Original function: premises rented from Schoen Wheel Co Ltd. (locomotive wheels). Opened: April 1916. Management: Leeds Forge Co Ltd. Munitions: 9.2in and 15in shell. Notes: became National Ordnance Factory No. 1.

* NSF Leeds - Hunslet (Goodman Street)

Original function: unknown (derelict factory). Opened: August 1916. Management: Leeds Board of Management. Munitions: 9.2in and 15in shell; making and repairing guns. Notes: became a National Ordnance Factory.

* NSF Liverpool - North Haymarket - Agricultural Hall

Original function: agricultural hall. Opened: late 1915. Management: Liverpool Munitions Management Committee. Munitions: 18-pdr. 2.75in HE, 60-pdr. and 6in shell

* NSF Liverpool - Gladstone Docks (Rimrose Road)

Original function: new warehouse belonging to the Cunard Steamship Co Ltd. Opened: after June 1915. Management: Cunard Steamship Company Ltd. Munitions: 4.5in, 6in and 8in shell.

* NSF Liverpool - Edge Lane

Original function: building located on the site of the Liverpool Exhibition. Opened: August 1916. Management: Liverpool Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in and 6in shell forgings; 4.5in cartridge cases.

* NSF Liverpool - Lambeth Road

Original function: tramway workshops. Opened: July 1916. Management: Liverpool Munitions Management Committee. Munitions: 15-pdr. and 18-pdr. and 2.75in shell.

* NSF Liverpool - Chester

Original function: boiler house of electricity works. Opened: late 1915. Management: Liverpool Munitions Committee. Munitions: 13-pdr.

* NSF Liverpool - Clyde St, Bootle

Opened 1915 Products: gauges

* NSF Llanelly - Burry Extension Works

Original function: tinplate and toy factory belonging to Richard Thomas Ltd. Opened: 19 September 1915. Management: Llanelly Board of Management. Munitions: 6in shell.

* NSF Manchester (Hyde Road)

Original function: tram depot. Opened: summer 1916. Management: Manchester Corporation Tramways Committee. Munitions: 4.5in shell.

* NSF Newport - Maesglas

Originally, engine sheds belonging to the Great Western Railway Company and factory owned by the Tyne Engineering Works. Opened: late 1915. Munitions: 60-pdr, 4.5in shell and 9.2in nose bushes.

* NSF Nottingham - Spring Close Works, Old Lenton

Original function: textile and lace making mill. Opened: mid. 1916. Management: Nottingham Munitions Committee. Munitions: 13-pdr., 18-pdr. HE and smoke and 2.75in shell.

* NSF Portmadoc - Boston Lodge Works

Original function: workshops belonging to the Festiniog Railway Company. Opened: October 1915. Management: North Wales Munitions Committee. Munitions: 13-pdr. and 18-pdr shell.

* NSF Rawtenstall - Irwell Mill (Rawtenstall and Bacup)

Original function: weaving shed owned by Mr. Hargreaves. Opened: early 1916. Management: local board of management. Munitions: 4.5in shell.


* NSF Rochdale (Mellor Street)

Original function: tram shed. Opened: late 1915. Management: Rochdale Munitions Committee. Munitions: 6in shell.

* NSF Rotherham

Originally, locomotive wheel workshops belonging to John Baker Ltd., Owen and Dawson (sic) Ltd. and the Brinsworth Ironworks. Opened: November 1915. Management: Rotherham Munitions Committee. Munitions: 4.5in HE and 4.5in chemical shells.

* NSF Swansea - Landore

Originally a factory of Baldwins. Opened: late 1915. Management: local board of management. Munitions: 18-pdr. and 4.5in shell.

* NSF Uskside - National Works

Originally the factory of Uskside Engineering Company with purpose built munitions shop. Opened: 1915. Management: Uskside Engineering Co. Munitions: 18-pdr. shell until June 1917 when new shop built for 4.5in and 6in shell production.

* NSF West Cumberland - Workington - Hawkeshead Foundry (Stanley Street)

Originally was Hawkeshead Foundry (derelict) belonging to T. A., J. and P. Milburn. Opened: August 1916. Management: West Cumberland Board of Management. Munitions: 18-pdr. HE and smoke.

* NSF Willesden - College Park

Original function: engine packing company? Opened: nationalised in October 1915 when the owner, a Mr. Klinger was arrested because of his German nationality. Management: Metroplitan Munitions Committee. Munitions: shell components. Notes: became a National Projectile Factory.

* NSF Wrexham - Corporation Electric Works

Original function: electric generation station Opened: spring 1916 Management: local board of management Munitions: 18-pdr. and 13-pdr. shell

Also at Sheffield

Rectification Works

* Rectification Factory Bacup - Height Barn Mill (Rawenstall and Bacup)

Original function: weaving shed. Opened: early 1918. Management: local board of management. Munitions: rectification of shell forgings 18-pdr., 4.5in and 6in.

* Rectification Factory Llanelly

Construction started: September 1916. Opened: after September 1916. Management: Llanelly Board of Management. Munitions: up to 6in shell rectification. Notes: this was a new structure built adjacent to the "Burry Extension Works".

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Munition Factories [1]
  • National Factory Scheme [2]