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Author Topic: Faversham Gunpowder Works  (Read 9960 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2012, 21:37:38 »
10th November 1864

The Fatal Explosion at Faversham.

The inquest on the bodies of George Sherwood, 64, labourer, and Henry Keene, 28, labourer, who were killed by the explosion at Messrs. Hall’s powder works, near this town (Faversham), on Monday afternoon, took place to-day, before Mr. T.T. Delasaux, coroner for East Kent.  It was stated during the proceedings that it was 26 years yesterday since the last fatal casualty accured in connexion with these works.
Mr. James Tassell attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of Mr. Hall and Sons.  The friends of the deceased were not represented.
The jury, having been sworn, proceeded to view the bodies, which were lying in a portion of the works near where the explosion occurred.  On their return the following evidence was adduced:-
Christopher Johncock, labourer, employed by Messrs. Hall at the powder-works, Davington, deposed, - On Monday I was working at the powder boats from half-past 6 in the morning until between 3 and 4 in the afternoon.  I was removing powder from the presshouse to the corning house, and thence to the glazinghouse.  The dust which came from the powder I took back to the chargehouse in order that it might be returned to the mill.  At half-past 3 o’clock I was waiting in the boat shed for more powder, when I heard a report proceeding from the corninghouse.  I knew that at that time Henry Keene and John Sherwood were at work there.  I had been in the corninghouse about half an hour before, and at that time Sherwood was standing on the platform and Keene was sweeping up the dust with a hair broom.  That is the usual mode adopted.  On hearing the explosion I put on my slippers and went towards the corninghouse.  I saw the boards and materials with which the corninghouse was built scattered on fire in all directions, but could not see anything of the deceased.  I assisted in extinguishing the fire and then returned to the boat.  I put the powder from the boat into the chargehouse and left.  I cannot say anything as to the cause of the explosion.
By a juror. – When I was in the corninghouse the machinery was not going.
Examination continued. – It is the practice when the men are at work in the corning-house for the gte leading thereto to be locked to prevent strangers from going there.  Before the explosion, and yesterday I found the gate locked and took the key out.  About a quarter past 3 o’clock on Monday afternoon I saw both the deceased and spoke to Henry Keene.  I asked if he had any more powder for me, and he said “No.”  The dress of the men employed in the “powder houses” is similar to that I now have on, and every precaution is taken to prevent an accident.
By the jury. – After the powder is taken out of the corninghouse the men have nothing to do but to sweep up the dust and oil the machinery for the following day.  The deceased had slippers on when I saw him last.  When the dust is swept up it is put into bags and taken back to the mills.  Slippers are worn by all the men in the powder houses and the boats.  The floors of the corninghouse are of boards, covered entirely with leather, called “powder hides,” and fastened down with copper tacks.
James Burney, foreman of the carpenters employed at Messrs. Hall’s powder-works, deposed, - I have been in Messrs. Hall’s service for over 38 years.  It is 26 years since any accident resulting in loss of life occurred in connexion with these works.  On Monday afternoon, about half-past 3 o’clock, I was in the carpenter’s shop at work when I heard an explosion.  Seeing it was at the corninghouse, I went there directly, and, after obtaining assistance, searched for the bodies of the deceased, whiom I knew were employed there.  In a few minutes we found the body of John Sherwood, and shortly afterwards that of Henry Keene, who were both dead.  Keene had been employed on the works about five or six years, and Sherwood upwards of 30 years.  It is quite impossible to tell the cause of the explosion.  Every possible precaution is taken to prevent accidents.
Thomas Johnson, who lives on the powder works at Oare as foreman deposed, - I was at the place here the deceased were employed between 11 and 12 o’clock on Monday.  I spoke to Sherwood.  The men were at their usual work, and everything was gins on as usual.  I have been employed at the works 35 years.  I cannot tell the cause of the explosion, not can I suggest anything as to the probable cause.  Everything we can think of is done to prevent accidents.  It is about 26 years since any person was killed at Messrs. Hall’s powder-works. (In reply to Mr. Hall this witness said that his father was killed at the works 41 years ago).  Thirty years ago accidents occurred more frequently than at present.  Prior to that time there was one in five or six years on the average.
By a juror. – I should say that when the accident happened the men had about finished work for the day.  The men were not working up “chugs” at the time of the accident, as the machinery was perfectly still.
The Coroner having briefly summed up, the jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” coupling with it an expression of their opinion that “every possible precaution is taken in connexion with Messrs. Hall’s gunpowder works to prevent accidents.”
This afternoon Colonel Boxer attended at the works on behalf of the Government to institute an examination into the probable cause of the explosion.

martinrogers

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 12:20:23 »

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 12:03:44 »
Estimate for rebuilding the Storekeepers House at Faversham according to the Annexed Plan and Profile 1762.

Bricklayer£ud£ud
40 Rods of Reduced Brickwork at £7:10 p rod30000
18 Square of Plain Tyling ript at u20 p Sqr.1800
93 Yards of Brick on Edge Paving the Cellar at u2:6 p Yd.11126
332 Yards of Lath & Plaister Cieling at 2d p Yard1620
123 Yards of Redering the Walls at 6d p Yard 316
443 feet supply of plain Cornice at 10d p foot1892
36752
Carpenter£ud£ud
18 Squares 31 feet of Single Roofing at 30u p Sq.2733
33 squares 50 feet of Firr Naked flooring at 50u p Sq.83150
4 Squares of Ashlering in Garrets at 10u p Sq.200
27 Squares of whole deal Boarding of Floor at 35 p Sq.47150
108 Yards of Square Deal Wainscott Low at 3u p Yard.1640
253 Yards of Battening & Papering the Walls at 2u p yard.2560
510 feet of whole deal Gutters & Bearers at 9d p foot.1926
450 ft. supply of Square Deal Shutters & Windows Lining at 9d p ft.1676
481 ft. supply of Sashes, Frames and Glass at 3u p foot.7330
200 ft. supply of ½ Deal Doors in 6 pannels at 10d p foot.868
50 ft. supply of outside Door at 6d p foot.2100
250 ft. supply of Rebated Linings at 6d p foot650
250 ft. running of Whole Deal Skirting at 4d p foot.434
500 ft. running of Single Architrave at 4 d p foot.863
58 steps of Stair case, including Rails, Newells, Brackets & Ballisters at 5u each.14100
120 ft. Supply in Garret Doors at 8d p foot.400
72 ft. supply of Rebated Lining at 6d p foot.1160
370 ft. Supply of Bracketting at 4d.634
To frontice pieces of Doors500
371610
Mason£ud£ud
To six Portland Chimney Pieces1800
To 13 Portland Steps in Front of Doors at 20u each.1300
4 Plinth Stones to Door Bases at 5u each.100
52 feet running of Purbeck Steps at 18d p foot.3180
13 Window Cills at 10u each.6100
150 ft Supply of Portland Coping at 10 d p foot.650
70750
Plumber£ud£ud
77? Of new Sheet Lead in Gutters, Hips, Ridges and Dormer windows, Work included at 20u p ?7700
To 4 Rain Water Cisterns at 30u each.600
31 yards of 4 Inch rain water Pipe at 6u p yard.960
9260
Painter£ud£ud
450 yards if 3a Painting in Oil at 6d o yard.1150
19 Sash Frames 3a Ditto in Oil0190
15 Dozens of Square Ditto at 12d p  Dozen0150
12190
To Ironmonger & Smiths Work 4000
It is Computed that the Materials of the Old House will Defray the pulling of it down, Removing Rubbish, Digging the Foundation & Levelling &c.
Total 932100

Estimated by J. C. Desmaretz

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 18:24:51 »
An Estimate
Of Repairs proposed to be done at the
Royal Powder Mills at
Faversham
1762

£ud
222 yards supply of pointing the garden wall – at 18 p yard.16130
1 Rod of Brickwork in terrass, to a wall across the pond and drain1600
1 rod of ditto – in mortar7100
Carting and wheeling 234 yards solid of earth to fill between the said wall – at 22 d p yard2190
postponed400 yards running of wharfing the ponds in the garden – at 7.6d p yard15000
27 ½ rods 5 feet of oak paleing to part the new mills & stable at 26.8d p yard/36134
35 rods 4 feet of oak paleing to fence the parsons meadow near the road at 17u p rod29150
62 rods of paleing to fence the land purchased of Mrs. Colegate at 28.6d p rod8870
12 rods of ditto – to fence the land hired of Mr. Ovender at 28.6d p rod1720
Extra work in spurs, whickett, gates, and barr gates900
Iron work with locks and hinges to the said paleing600
140ft running of oak posts and firr rails to inclose the new stables at1u p yard700
To repair the wharfing where the powder is shipt on board10100
Carpenters work to finish the two horse mills29121
Smiths work to ditto1200
Labourers work in assisting the smiths to turn the iron runners and making a chalk floor in the new mills10000
To seavelwork & gravel, in repair to the mill roads & causeway5000
To erect a shed for a cart lodge and straw house at the back of the new stable6000
500 yards of painting 3, in oil, at the new stable, watch & charge house, palisades, gates and rails12100
For repairing the brewhouse of fitting up a corn chamber with binns &c.49170
To build a boghouse for the millmen & stablekeeper400
To repair and lengthen the bridge across the road by Ospringe mill1000
1.00585

Estimated by J. C. Desmaretz

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 18:31:03 »
Abstract of the Estimate of Repairs at the Royal Powder Mills at Faversham 1762.

Estimated atPostponedAllowed
Repairs at the Royal Powder Mills.£1,005  8  5£150  0  0£ 855  8  5
Rebuilding the Storekeepers house.£ 932  10 0 £ 932  10 0

27 May 1762
Approved & Order’d


Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 17:30:48 »

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 20:27:00 »
Office of Ordnance
9th March 1760
Right Honourable and Honourable Gentlemen.

In obedience to your Commands of the 4th March 1760 I humbly lay before your Honours a Projected Plan, Profit and Estimates for Rebuilding the Storekeeper’s House at Feversham, to which I have annexed an Estimate of the Repairs proposed to be done at the Powder Mills in 1760.
To Rebuild the Storekeeper’s House according to the annexed Plan and Profit, the Superficial Content of the Ground Floor, is 12 squares 19 feet, the which is Estimates........at £ 75 per square.£ 915  5 0
5 squares to the Offices and Out Houses at £25 per square.£ 125  0  0
£1040  5 0
At the Powder Mills
For Inclosing one half of this Office’s Lands at this place there will be wanted 153 Rods running of Park Pailing of 5 and 6 feet high Work included at£2.3 per Rod.£ 175 19 0
To 4 Barr Gates at Ditto with proper fastenings at 50 Each.£  10  0 0
For Repairing the Wharfing at the lower Mills, making a Foot Bridge on the back of the said Mills and Gravelling the same.£  60  0 0
15 squares of rough Boarding the Hay loft over the Stable.£  21  0 0
To Repair the Powder Corning Houses and Stores.£  23 10 0
For Rebuilding a Watch-House and making a new one for the Watch-Men.£  47  0 0
To Repair the small Magazine for Charges.£  13  0 0
To outside Painting.£  15  0 0
£ 365  9 0

Estimated by
J. C. Desmaretz

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 12:45:19 »
Office of Ordnance  3rd March 1760

Right Honourable and Honourable Gentlemen

When last at Faversham, to take a Survey of the Powder Mills and other Buildings thereunto belonging, in order to Report to your Honours the several repairs that are necessary to be done there this year.
I beg leave to Represent that the House allotted to the Storekeeper, which hath four rooms on a floor, the walls of one half of which being only a 4 inch partition and very much decay’s is in great want to be rebuilt and as the other half of the said house, wants new roofing and other considerable repairs, and judging that any money laid out in repairing of it will be ill bestowed, I am humble of opinion that the rebuilding of it on a lesser plan is preferable, but will defer to estimate untill further orders.

I am
Right Honourable and Honourable Gentlemen
Your most obedient & most humble servant
J Desmaretz

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 10:49:00 »
Office of Ordnance
Ospringe 14th December 1759

An account of the rods and feet around his majestys works at this place distinguishing what is under lease and what is freehold.

RodsFeet
7Round the orchard in which stands the storehouse wherein is first lodges the ?ep with powder.11 years lease
155From the carthouse round by the town.  Mills to the back gate by the stone bridge & two gates included.11 years lease
194From the corner of the charcoal house round the stables to the river on Mr ???dons land.Lease till next michmas (?)
30 Round the storehouseFreehold

Edward Wilks      Arthur Neil

Offline kyn

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 18:20:02 »
Report and estimate for faversham 1760

Office of Ordnance
Ospringe 14th December 1759

Agreeable to your Honourable Commander of the 7th inst. we have applied to several carpenters to us any estimates of the expense of securing the works, but as they as well as we are entirely ignorant of the dimensions and heighth of the palisades your Honours would be pleased should be put up.  We cannot repeat any estimate of this kind; and as your Honours have been pleased to order us three watchmen, we shall take care that they do their duty so far as to prevent any damage being done to the works till such time as your Honours shall be pleased to order and engineer to survey the same who is acquainted with the Office ???? & nature of pallisading of which we are ignorant; and we further beg have to represent to your Honours that great part of the fence that is decayed is we apprehend subject to a ????? terminating in 11 years, & some other part whereon the stable stores to a ????? terminating at much almost next therefrom we do not imagine your Honours would judge an expensive fence necessary for so short a time, a particular account of which we have herewith inclosed to your Honours

We are
Your Honours
Most obedient
Humble servants
Edward Wilks       Arthur Neil

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2009, 10:10:08 »
The various posts about the gunpowder works ignited (get it?) an interest in searching out more about them. One of my weaknesses at the moment is Google books. It is amazing what will come to the surface when some quite obscure search phrases are entered. For the Faversham Gunpowder Works quite a bit comes up in various publications, some of which I have posted here in something approaching a date order within the publication they were in. Explosions first then some other bits of info. As you will see the info below is relevant to the 18c/19c periods of the Faversham works.

From the 'Manual of Dates' that listed
various gunpowder explosions from around the world. As will be seen from other records this list does not record every accident that occurred at Faversham.
Jan 1st 1767 - The Royal Mills at Faversham are blown up.
Sept 1st 1770 - A man and a horse are killed by an explosion at Faversham.
Oct 3rd 1789 - One man is killed by an explosion at Faversham.
Sept 6th 1802 - Six men and three horses are killed at Faversham.
Jan 16th 1810 - Five men and a boy, and two horses are killed be an explosion at Faversham.
Oct 3rd 1817 - Three men are killed at Faversham.
March 29th 1865 - Two persons are injured at Faversham.

From the 'Chronological Historian'.
April 18th 1781 - The Royal Powder Mills at Faversham, containing 90 barrels of gunpowder, blew up, and three men were killed; the surrounding mills, working houses, and buildings were unroofed or broken by the explosion, and windows in the western part of Faversham were destroyed.

October 3rd 1789
- A drying stove belonging to the powder mill at Faversham, took fire, and blew up 20 barrels of gunpowder, by which accident, an old man, 65 years of age, was blown up and rendered a dreadful spectacle.

September 7th 1802 - Near Faversham part of the Royal Gunpowder Works blew up, by which accident six men and three horses were killed.

October 3rd 1817 - The Corning House of the gunpowder works near Faversham blew up with a dreadful explosion, and three men at work were literally blown to pieces.

From the 'Annual Register of Dates'.
April 1803 - In the afternoon, a few minutes after three o'clock, the Corning Mill No1, part of the Royal Gunpowder Works, situated about three quarters of a mile north-west of the town of Faversham, blew up with a most tremendous explosion, and killed six men.

From 'Chamber's Journal' 1859.
In the year 1780, an explosion of a Corning House took place at Faversham, where there are to this day some
 extensive gunpowder mills. This Corning House was situated on a small island at the foot of a hill, known as Davington Hill. The building was totally destroyed, and six men lost their lives. After this explosion, the government bought some land called The Marsh, at a greater distance from the town of Faversham. In just a few years an explosion at the 'Marsh Works' killed seven men.

From the 'Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales' 1851.
Faversham has long been celebrated for its manufacture of gunpowder, under the superintendance of a branch of the Ordnance. This manufacture is supposed to have been established here previous to the reign of Elizabeth. It was carried on by private individuals 'till 1760, when government, to insure greater security, erected buildings and carried on the manufacture by its own agents. During the late war upwards of 400 persons were employed in these works, which annually produced from 12,000 to 13,000 barrels. Government has for the last few years relinquished the powder workshere, but still holds the property, which is tenanted at present by Messrs Hall.

The Ordnance established powder works at Faversham in the year 1759, and upon a memorial to the Treasury settled an establishment under Royal Warrant, 17th November 1759, at total annual cost of £398.

From 'The Beauties of England' and Wales' 1808.
On the stream which flows through the village, and afterwards falls into Faversham Creek are some extensive gunpowder works, both belonging to the government, and in private hands. A neat range of barracks for the infantry has been recently built in this village. The preceding parts of this passage suggest the village referred to is Ospringe.

From the 'Ordnance Estimates for 1821'.
Allow £4,507 for the repairs, labour and civil establishment of the powder works at Faversham.

From a Register of Engineers of Britain.
John Peter Desmaretz 1689-1768 - Military Engineer. 1762 to 1763 designed both horse mills and powder mills at Faversham.

From 'The Economy of Kent 1640 to 1914.
Faversham was the other main centre of gunpowder production. here, during the Napoleonic Wars the government-run 'Home' and 'Marsh' works, and the Oare Works owned by Andrews and Pigou of Dartford, had a combined output of between 535 and 580 tons per annum. Subsequent control of all the works fell to John Hamm of Dartford. A completely new works, the Cotton Powder Company Limited opened on an isolated site at Uplees in 1873 making Tonite blasting powder, Ammonium Nitrate explosives form 1880, Nitroglycerine from 1892, and finally Cordite from 1896.

What a place Faversham must have been! Not only the second largest powder manufacturer after Waltham Abbey, but a major centre of export and import that at one time had over 8,000 tons of shipping based on it. Who would believe it now?

Offline kyn

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Faversham Gunpowder Works
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 17:17:07 »
Some remaining features from the gunpowder works.

 

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