GUNPOWDER AND MILLS
Gunpowder is, of course, a primary component of fireworks, and used to be made extensively throughout Britain. Like many British manufacturing industries it has disappeared today, but much remains as ‘visitor attractions’ or just sites which you may encounter on a country walk.
The primary requirements for manufacturing gunpowder are:
Accessibility of a port: two of the three ingredients were imported
The proximity of forests: charcoal – preferably alder or willow – is the third ingredient
Water: needed not only for the manufacturing process but also to drive the machinery. Hence centres of production were gunpowder mills.
An isolated location: in case of accidents and for testing of the finished product.
It was said that ‘Tower Proof’ refers to the claim that it can be stored without detriment in the Tower of London for a year.
NOTABLE GUNPOWDER MILL AREAS
FAVERSHAM – KENT
DEVON & DARTMOOR
The manufacture of gunpowder in Cumbria developed initially in response to demand from the mining and quarrying industries of the region, making use of the natural resources of woodland and water power available in Furness and South Lakeland.