Site Name: Swynnerton Royal Ordnance Factory
Swynnerton Training Area
Sub Brit site visit 27th November 2003
[Source: Nick Catford]
After WW1 the Ordnance industry in Britain was gradually dismantled with only a handful of facilities remaining in production by the late 1930's. However with the threat of war, rapid rearmament took place from 1938 with 44 Royal Ordnance factories being built consisting of three main types:
Photo:Map of ROF Swynnerton in the 1970's
ROF Swynnerton became filling factory No. 5, one of 18 similar facilities.
Construction commenced in 1939 with production starting in the summer of 1940 and by early 1941 5000 people were employed there. By the summer this had increased to 15,000 reaching a peak of 18,000 in the summer of 1942.
The prime function of the factory was the filling of shells and other
armaments, the filled product being stored in nine semi-sunken earth
covered magazines. Filling was undertaken in lightly constructed 'laboratories'
within earth revetments. If one building was destroyed the revetments
were designed to contain the blast without affecting adjacent buildings;
these revetted laboratories were dispersed over several areas. A number
of decontamination centres were also built around the factory for use
in the event of a German gas attack.
Photo by Nick Catford
There was also a burning ground to the north of the site where life-expired or sub-standard explosives could be safely destroyed.
Some of the workforce was housed in seven hostels built in the vicinity of the factory but the numbers employed were so large that many people were recruited in the pottery towns around Stoke on Trent and brought to the factory each day by special trains.
The station was substantially built in brick and concrete with corrugated iron canopies with air raid shelters constructed on either side and a footbridge linking the platforms to the shelters.
By the time the station was complete ROF Swynnerton was working round the clock on a three shift system (07.00 - 15.00, 15.00 - 22.00 and 22.00 - 07.00) and the workers trains were timed to fit this shift pattern. The station never appeared on a public timetable and the factory is not shown on Ordnance Survey maps until 1962.
As well as the regular workforce Coldmeece also dealt with a number
of special trains conveying American Airforce personnel who were temporarily
accommodated in one of the factory hostels. Coldmeece only carried
passenger traffic, all goods traffic still entering the site from the
main line junction at Badnall Wharf.
For further information and pictures about ROF Swynnerton click here
[Source: Nick Catford]