The Workforce of the Royal Gunpowder Mills: 1787-1841 by Derek Armes, Sandra Taylor
The Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey form a major chapter in the history of explosives in England. Waltham Abbey Powder Mills were among the earliest powder manufactories in the country, and continued existing as an explosives factory for some three hundred years.
This book documents the personnel employed at the Mills during the period from 1787 to 1841. Its production was initiated by Les Tucker, the Archivist at the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills, and is based on the considerable volume of Personnel Records held in the National Archives and documents within the Archive of the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills. The Waltham Abbey Historical Society generously provided numerous copies of the documents which were employed by the late Raymond Cassidy for his PhD study of the Poor of Waltham Abbey.
Derek Armes spent his working life in the construction industry, running civil engineering projects in the United Kingdom and overseas. He came into historical research by way of family history, and on his retirement joined Ware Museum as a volunteer, accessioning items in the Museum's collection. During his time at the Museum, he researched and wrote two books relating to Ware in WW1 and WW11.
Following an enforced break from the Museum due to a family illness, Derek joined the Royal Powder Mills as a volunteer in the Mills' Archives. With Sandra Taylor he researched the documents held at the Mills and at the National Archives at Kew, after which he wrote this publication with Sandra.
Sandra Taylor was born in London and has a life-long passion for its history, as well as British and European history in general. On retiring from her 15-year job as an Assistant to the Beadle and part-time Archivist in one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies in the City of London, she decided to belatedly go to university, graduating in 2002 from Middlesex University with a Batchelor of Arts (Hons) degree in History with English Literary Studies.
Living for a number of years in Waltham Abbey, she joined the W.A. Historical Society, and is a volunteer at the Epping Forest District Museum where, amongst other things, she has digitised all of their photographic collection and assisted the Collections' Officer in accessioning. In addition, again as a volunteer, she has researched in the Royal Gunpowder Mills' Archives, producing, with Derek, this publication which gives a snap-shot social history of some of the personnel working at the Mills from 1787 to 1841.