This page is designed to highlight Ordnance Museums, Items, Sites and Archives which are or might be at risk; and to support where appropriate campaigns to save the ‘Ordnance at Risk’.
If you would like to make the Ordnance Society aware of any ordnance at risk, then please send details to:-
The following are already known:
FIREPOWER – The Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich Arsenal (http://firepower.org.uk/) closed its doors on Friday 8th July 2016 and will eventually move to a new Museum at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. There appears to be a lack of a suitable area and resources available and there is a fear that the many rare and often unique items at Woolwich will disappear into store somewhere in Wiltshire for several years. The new facility at Larkhill MAY be opened in 2019/2020. Latest updates on the Firepower web-site.
Firepower – The Royal Artillery Museum (update July 2017)
The Firepower museum at Woolwich closed in 2016. The Royal Artillery Collections are safeguarded by the Royal Artillery Heritage Trust. This organisation looks after the thousands of artefacts relating to the history of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. These artefacts range from personal items used by Gunners in their service, to the massive railway guns used in WW1. Also included are a unique collection of medals and the Library and Archive. Part of the Collection was on display in Firepower, run by Royal Artillery Museum Limited, but other parts have been, and continue to be on loan to other organisations including serving regiments of the Royal Artillery and a Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust exhibition, The Making of Woolwich – The Royal Regiment of Artillery in Woolwich. Items from the closed museum are in secure storage pending the establishment of a new facility. The Library and Archive has been re-established at Larkhill, Wiltshire and is open for research by appointment with the archivist Sian Mogridge (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Friends of Firepower organisation has become the Friends of the Royal Artillery Collections (Membership Secretary email@example.com) which, in reflection of its new title, continues to take an active part in ensuring that the Collections will be available for access and display in the future.
The ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS at Waltham Abbey is at risk of being severely reduced in size and in losing a lot of the major historical areas and buildings on the site. Large parts are apparently planned to be leased to the children’s holiday company PGL. There is an existing campaign to fight the proposals – http://save-rgm.org/. The latest update follows:-
A meeting was held 23 May 2017 between trustees of WARGM Company Limited (‘Company’) and WARGM Charitable Foundation Limited (‘Foundation’) at which the Company learned the following:
- The Foundation will not now proceed with the planning appeal.
- PGL have decided not to pursue this application or appeal.
The Foundation has stated that it is, in effect, starting again on development ideas, mindful of Council’s reasons for refusal of the PGL scheme Jun 2016, and the costs of a public inquiry.
We learned that at present there are potential interested parties –
- A similar organisation has shown interest in a somewhat smaller scheme for RGM which would repair and reuse the Cordite Factory.
- PGL now believe they can create a viable smaller scheme.
- In October 2016 WARGM Company submitted to the Foundation an outline scheme for a business park in the ‘East Flank’ that would repair and reuse the Cordite Factory Buildings and enable retention of all space currently used for visitors. The Foundation have stated that they will now consider this.
- It has been suggested that a joint Foundation / Company working group should be formed to examine options.
ENGLISH HERITAGE. Although it does not directly include Ordnance at Risk, the English Heritage At Risk Register does include a number of sites with very strong ordnance links, e.g. The Rotunda at Woolwich and Coalhouse Fort on the North bank of the Thames:- https://www.historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk.
MOD FUNDING to MILITARY MUSEUMS. It was reported in the media a few weeks ago that MOD funding to a number of military museums was being cut. There is no news as yet of any particular museums being affected and updates will be reported here.