April 30th, 2017
In January 2017, the Rotherwas Munitions Group joined the initiative of Hereford and Worcester, in campaigning to gain national recognition of the crucial role undertaken by men and women employed within munitions factories in producing armaments for use in both World Wars.
Thousands of people, mainly women, worked in the factories at Rotherwas and Blackpole in Worcester. They became known as the Canary Girls because chemicals they handled turned their hair and skin yellow.
Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, raised the campaign with Theresa May at ‘Prime Minister’s Question Time’ when she confirmed that the Government is willing to work with him in producing a collective honour, and also agreed to meet some surviving Canary Girls at Downing Street.
In addition, Rob Flello MP on behalf of the ‘All Party Parliamentary Munitions Group ‘, has had space allocated at the National Arboretum for a memorial to be placed there for which a designer and sculptor has been procured.
The Rotherwas Munitions Group continues to work closely with BBC Hereford and Worcester and other heritage groups in pursuing these joint objectives.
October 28th, 2015
Hereford’s former munitions site project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
A project to honour the contribution of the women who worked at Hereford’s former munitions factory has won Heritage Lottery Funding of more than £77,000.
The two-year programme will create a digital archive about the Rotherwas factory and its workers as well as fund a series of community events and work with local schools to explore and preserve its history for future generations.
The site opened in 1916 as a munitions filling factory and became one of the largest explosive filling sites in the UK. It covered more than 300 acres and comprised more than 370 buildings. Employing mainly women, the site was bombed during the Second World War, in 1942, and suffered a major explosion in 1944.
The project named ‘Rotherwas ROF -Front Line Duty’ will mark 100 years since the factory opened in 1916. It will focus on the impact the factory complex had on Hereford and the women who worked there.
The total project cost is £101,800 with £77,100 provided through the HLF. The remainder will come from income from events and sponsorship.
The initiative was drawn up by a partnership of Herefordshire Council, the Hereford Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park that houses the former factory site and the Hereford Archives and Records Centre, which is based on the Zone.
Activities will include community talks, films, exhibitions, walks and events alongside the development of the archive and work in local schools. A part time project officer will be appointed to manage the project and 40 volunteers will be trained to take part.
Neil Kerr, vice-chairman of the Enterprise Zone Board, said: “The munitions factory had a very important role nationally but it also plays an important part in the DNA of many Herefordshire families so we are delighted that we have been able to secure HLF funding for this project.
“The programme of events will commemorate the part it has played in our history and record and celebrate the contribution of the people who worked here particularly the huge workforce of women.
Councillor Graham Powell, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for Economy and Corporate Services, also shared his delight that the Heritage Lottery Fund supported the project.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from local organisations to ensure that the munitions factory and its workers receive their well deserved place in history,” he said.
Anne Jenkins, HLF’s Deputy Director of Operations, said: “This project will tell the story of the vital Home Front contribution made by mainly women workers – the so-called munitionettes – during two world wars. Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support the research that will ensure that their hard, and dangerous, work is overlooked no longer.”
The launch event is set to take place in January 2016 with the final event scheduled for October 2017.
For further information or interview requests, please contact Amy Bould or Jo Cunningham at Be Bold PR on , or 01952 898121.
Notes to editors:
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about -from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery
About the Hereford Enterprise Zone
1) Skylon Park on the Hereford Enterprise Zone is a world-class business landscape, available for immediate development. With a unique defence and security sector focus, the 72-hectare site of Hereford Enterprise Zone will also welcome pioneering and innovative enterprises from the advanced engineering, food and drink and sustainable technologies sectors to create a vibrant and dynamic business community.
2) Companies are invited to create their own place within the Masterplan of Skylon Park, giving flexibility for a space, which best suits their operations in a central UK and European location. Developed in a countryside setting with business in mind, Skylon Park and the surrounding area is the ideal place to invest, develop, work and live.
3) Companies in the Enterprise Zone benefit from:
Business Rates relief, worth up to £275,000 per business over a five-year period Simplified planning process, with planning already approved for the majority of investors Superfast broadband Local business sponsorship & increase in business profile Help with skills and recruitment Clustering and supply chain boosts