The National Shell Filling Factory on the Rotherwas Industrial Estate in Hereford was initially erected under the direction of Lloyd George as Minister of War in 1915. The Factory itself was constructed by the Ministry of Munitions on the site of the Rotherwas Mansion, which had been demolished prior to the factory build because of a fire. Shell filling began here on 11 November 1916.
The extensive WW1 site consisted of 27 miles of standard gauge railway, three miles of road, nine miles of guard fence, 10 miles of footpaths and sentry paths, and 370 buildings. One of these buildings; building number 701, was constructed as part of the wartime expansion programme of 1942 and houses our showrooms. This particular part of the Munitions Factory was used for storing the completed shells prior to transit and was part of the ‘clean area’.
At its peak, 6000 workers were employed at the munitions factory 4,000 of these gained the name ‘Canary girls’ as a result of the jaundice they suffered due to their important but hazardous work.
Our site is also on the boundaries of the disused Hereford to Ross railway, closed as a result of Lord Beechings’ 1963 Report. This line joined into the munition factory’s extensive internal rail system, many sections which are still being uncovered.
For a detailed history of the site, John Edmunds’s book “The History of the Rotherwas Munitions Factory at Hereford” is the definitive record.
Lloyd George House, Fordshill Road
Rotherwas Industrial Estate
Hereford, HR2 6NS
T: 01432 375510
E: [email protected]