Royal Arsenal

The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing, and explosives research for the British armed forces at a site on the south bank of the River Thames in Woolwich in south-east London, England. It was originally known as the Woolwich Warren, having begun on land previously used as a domestic warren in the grounds of a Tudor house, Tower Place. Much of the initial history of the site is linked with that of the Board of Ordnance, which purchased the Warren in the late 17th century in order to expand an earlier base at Gun Wharf in Woolwich Dockyard. Over the next two centuries, as operations grew and innovations were pursued, the site expanded massively; at the time of the First World War the Arsenal covered 1285acres and employed close to 80,000 people. Thereafter its operations were scaled down; it finally closed as a factory in 1967 and the Ministry of Defence moved out in 1994. Today the area, so long a secret enclave, is open to the public and is being redeveloped for housing and community use.17th-18th century: The WarrenThe Civil EstablishmentThe Board of Ordnance was both a civil and a military office of State, independent of the Army, overseen by a high-ranking official, the Master-General of the Ordnance. Both branches, civil and military, were represented at the Warren; indeed there was a great deal of overlap: military officers for the most part headed up the civil departments, and civilians often worked alongside the military personnel. Its main areas of activity developed as follows:

Address

2 Plumstead Rd
London
SE18 7BZ

Telephone

+442083127500

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Nearby museums