ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS - 3 MAY, 2020. Contact Janice

SUNDAY 3RD MAY, 2020 11am - 3pm


Beaulieu Drive

Waltham Abbey

Essex, EN9 1JY

(Five Minutes Drive from Junction 26 of the M25)

For more information Visit:

This Guided Tour is around the 170 acre estate of Historic Buildings and Woodland of the Royal Gunpowder Mills. It has a long and fascinating history, playing an essential part in military history and national defence. A major local employer of workers in the Lea Valley, where people risked their lives to earn a crust.

Gunpowder production began on the site in the 1660s and after the Crown acquired it in 1787 it became one of the world’s most important centres for the understanding and manufacture of gunpowder. Explosives manufacture ceased during WW2 and after 1945 the site became the country’s most important explosives research centre until its closure in 1991. Because of its secrecy and the physical isolation caused by its location, the site was self-contained, with its own power station, railway, road and canal systems.

Some of the scientists who worked at the Royal Gunpowder Mills are now active volunteers. They relish any opportunity to explain the exhibits or describe their work in decades past. So why not come along and put them to the test. You’ve heard the phrase “It’s not Rocket Science,” Here at the Rocket Vault, it really is!

There will be Tea/Coffee served on arrival.

Then an Introductory Film , revealing the history of explosives and how they were produced at the Royal Gunpowder Mills.

Our Guided Tour will be in two parts, the Historical Buildings and the Grounds.

The interactive exhibitions: the best way to understand the history surrounding the site and the science behind gunpowder.

The Armoury: with militaria displaying over 200 historic firearms covering the periods from the English Civil War to present day conflicts. Visitors are encouraged to handle and explore a variety of historic weapons.

The Rocket Vault: showing the development of rocket motors and propellants from Congreve’s gunpowder rocket of the early 19th century through to the guided missiles of the cold war and those used in the Falklands and Gulf wars.

A Light Lunch will be served in the Gunpowder Cafe (included in the price)

A Land Train Guided Tour: to the ‘out of bounds’ parts of the site, seeing the remains of many of the buildings used in the production of explosives including the Grand Nitrator (where nitroglycerine was manufactured), Newton’s Pool used for the testing of underwater explosives including those used in the ‘Dambusters’ “bouncing bomb” and the pretty Victorian Press House with waterwheel and press where one of the most dangerous processes on site took place.

Finishing with A Scientific Demonstration or Access to the 1940’s Exhibition: where you can experience the sights and sounds as you step inside an Anderson air-raid shelter, peek into a war-time kitchen, and toy shop, and browse in a 1940s general store.

The Cost is £20 per person (including the Lunch)

I will need to take a £5 Deposit and the £15 Balance has to paid 2 weeks before the event.

Should it be necessary to cancel the event all monies will be returned.

We will need to limit this to 44 , so please let me know ASAP if you would like to join us. I will keep a reserve list, if necessary.



N.B. A Hot Lunch is being served, rather than a Finger Buffet because of the concerns of COVID-19.

There will be a Meat or Vegetarian option being:

Beef Lasagne or Vegetable Paella, Served with Salad and Coleslaw (Please state your choice when paying your Deposit)