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Barbara Follett protects the weapons stores which helped protect us in the past

Barbara Follett protects the weapons stores which helped protect us in the past

DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT News Release (057/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service on 17 April 2009

Ordnance Yards and Magazine Depots from the Napoleonic War to the First World War are amongst 48 buildings listed or upgraded today by Culture Minister, Barbara Follett, following a study by English Heritage.

The buildings, mostly listed at Grade II, include:

* the Mixing house (building 124) at Bull Point, Plymouth, constructed in 1804 and a unique survival from the Napoleonic Wars, where gunpowder from returning warships was recycled

* the Shell Fitting and Packing Workshop (building 65) also at Bull Point, built in 1862 as a specialized workshop for filling and packing shells, and

* a munitions factory at Priddy's Hard, Gosport, where, more than a hundred years ago, women workers used to slip love letters into ammunition boxes they were packing, for lonely sailors to find.

Of the 33 newly listed buildings, 19 are owned by the MOD and managed by Defence Estates (DE).

One building, Government Powder Magazine No.5, at Purfleet in Essex, has had its listing upgraded to Grade I, based on new research and findings of the thematic survey.

One site in particular, Priddy's Hard, has some interesting and heart-warming history. During the early 1900s, Gosport Women's Football Team was comprised mostly of ladies who were employed at the Priddy's Hard depot. They were considered to be one of the best ladies sides in the country, and camaraderie among them remained strong until they were laid off.

These same women would also hide love letters in the boxes of ammunition they were assembling, for the sailors to find on their voyages at sea. It was hoped that these would cheer the troops, and many relationships were both formed - and finished! - thanks to these little notes.

Barbara Follett, Culture Minister, said:

"These sites are poignant reminders of our military history and the effect that this had on the men and women involved. Their historic importance is indisputable and the role they played in Britain's defence against invaders - as part of factory settings - was pivotal. Each one has a tale to tell, some sad, some touching, but all had a key role in Britain's maritime dominance of the world."

Richard McKinney, Head of the Property Directorate at Defence Estates, said:

"These sites have played a significant role in reinforcing the sense of identity, ethos and pride of our Forces. The MOD takes its stewardship of its historic estate very seriously and we will continue to positively manage these buildings, to safeguard their future for generations to come."

Gemma Abercrombie, Head of Heritage Protection Operations for English Heritage, said:

"Each of these sites has evolved in a different way in response to the pressures caused by the development of ordnance and explosives, and reveal fascinating stories of our military history. We are delighted that our research and the work undertaken in conjunction with the MoD has allowed these buildings to be further recognised through statutory protection."

Notes to Editors

1. The full list of new listings and upgrades is:

* Bull Point Plymouth, Devon (owned by MoD) : The Camber; Building 124 (Mixing House); Entrance Gates and Wall to east side; Enclosure Walls and Piers to South-West of Buildings 17, 25, 26 and 27; Building 13 (Receipt and Issue Magazine)(Grade II*); Building 60 (Pattern and Class Room); Building 43 (Empty Barrel and Case Store); Building 45 (Quick Fire Ammunition Store); Building 49; Building 54 (Press House); Building 55 (Tube and Fuze Store); Building 59 (Examining Room); Building 63 (Empty Barrel and Case Store); Building 65 (Shell Fitting and Packing Workshop); Building 69 (Breaking-Up House); Building 36 (Police Station) and Building 57 (Wet Guncotton Store).

* Upnor, Medway, Kent (owned by MoD) : Building LU001 (former 'B' Magazine)(Grade II*); Wall extending North-East from Upnor Castle along River Medway.

* Priddy's Hard, Gosport, Hampshire (owned by Gosport Borough Council) : 'C' Magazine (Building 435)(Grade II*); Quickfire Shell Store (Building 433); Laboratory North Range & Laboratory Building to North East of Laboratory Complex; Laboratory Building, East Range and attached Rolling Way; Laboratory Cottages; Shell Painting Room; Case Store Exhibition & Conference Rooms and Rolling Way to South of 'B' Magazine; Quick Fire Shell Store; Shell (Building 303); Mines and Countermines Store (Building 409); Proof House and Cook House (Building 241); Shell Filling rooms, Fuzing Rooms and associated traverse walls; Empty Powder Case Store (Building 312); Shifting room (Building 223); Empty Package Store (building 428); Laboratory Boat House (Building 314).

* Purfleet, Grays, Essex (owned by Thurrock District Council) : Purfleet Play Centre and attached wall to the south (Grade II*); Government Powder Magazine No.5 (Grade I).

All listings are Grade II, unless indicated otherwise.

2. These listings follow a thematic survey of Ordnance Yards and Magazine Depots by English Heritage, which consisted of a long process of evaluation and consultation with the MOD, military historians and the private owners of some of the sites. The survey discovered buildings which resulted from the revolutionary advances in naval munitions technology and handling, and are some of the best-preserved structures of their kind.

3. The main purpose of listing a building is to ensure that care will be taken over decisions affecting its future, that any alterations respect the particular character and interest of the building, and that the case for its preservation is taken fully into account in considering the merits of any redevelopment proposals.

4. Further details of English Heritage's recommendations can be obtained from Historic Environment Designation Branch, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH.

Public enquiries: 020 7211 6020

2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH

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