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British Industrial History

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Royal Small Arms Factory (Birmingham)

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Royal Small Arms Factory at Sparkbrook, Birmingham

  • c.1885 On liquidation of the Small-arms and Ammunition Co Ltd, the government purchased the factory in order to secure the production of small arms. Over the next 2 years about £40000 was invested in re-equipping the factory[1]. Presumably this was added to the Royal Small Arms Repairing Factory in Bagot Street (otherwise known as "The Tower") as there was great need for extra repairing capability[2].
  • 1887 Report by Lord Morley's committee into the Manufacturing Departments of the Army, which consisted of 4 establishments: Woolwich, Waltham Abbey, Enfield and Birmingham; the committee made a number of recommendations for reorganisation, having taken account of modern industrial practices[3].
  • 1888 About 100 men were employed on new work and 600-700 on repairs. Removal of plant to Enfield caused concern that the Sparkbrook factory was to be moved to Enfield[4].
  • 1893 The government-owned gun factories in Birmingham were at Sparkbrook and Small Heath; debate in Parliament focussed on the question of Enfield versus Sparkbrook[5].
  • Late 1890s The Lanchester Engine Co purchased part of the site, the Armoury Mills, for car manufacture.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post, 5 May 1888
  2. Birmingham Daily Post 1 April 1885
  3. The Times, Saturday, Jul 30, 1887
  4. Birmingham Daily Post, 5 May 1888
  5. Birmingham Daily Post 13 March 1893
  6. Leicester Chronicle 10 February 1900
  7. The Times, 28 January 1919