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Waltham Abbey
Town Council
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Waltham Abbey
Essex EN9 1DE

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Press Release

Contact: Luke Dunne or Stella Morris at Royal Gunpowder Mills

(t) 01992 707 375 – Luke Dunne

(t) 01992 707 360 – Stella Morris

(e) luke.dunne@royalgunpowdermills.com

(w) www.royalgunpowdermills.com 


For immediate release

Victory in Europe Weekend at the Royal Gunpowder Mills

VE Weekend

April 29th 2017 – May 1st 2017 – Open 10am – 5pm (Last Entry 3pm)

“VE Weekend” Bank Holiday Event – April 29 –  1 May: 10am – 5pm (Last Entry 3pm)

The skies above the Royal Gunpowder Mills are set to come alive during the May Bank Holiday Weekend with a spitfire display and re-enactments of battles and civilian life as the historic site opens up its site for its famous celebratory VE Weekend event.  Booking in advance recommended.    

Set in 170 acres of parkland and woodland, The Royal Gunpowder Mills is the ideal setting for numerous reenactors telling the tales of a World War 2 land Battle.   The reenactors have a passion for preserving the history for today’s and future generations, and each character has their own story to tell. 

Visitors are transported back in time to 8th May 1945, with victory declared and the scene all around bursting into celebrations of singing, dancing and joining a 1940’s street party. Visitors who like dressing up are encouraged to seize the opportunity to come along in 1940’s outfits and paraphernalia to fully embrace the spirit of the weekend.

Children can get involved and experience VE through craft activities such as making a colourful flag, making bunting, making luggage labels.  Children can also immerse themselves in the mad happenings of Professor Nitrate’s Science Show.

BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY & MONDAY – The Royal Gunpowder Mills pays homage to the veterans of yesteryear with a flying display from a spitfire through the skies above the mills. This is an opportunity for all to experience vintage aircraft in action and is not to be missed. Plus on the Sunday The Royal Air Force will grace the skies with The Battle Of Britain Memorial Fly Pass. Details and times can be found on the website https://www.royalgunpowdermills.com/whats-and-events/ve-celebration/

Events & Marketing Coordinator Luke Dunne commented, “VE Weekend­­­ is a  flagship event of The Royal Gunpowder Mills.  It is a very special opportunity for families and enthusiasts alike to experience living history on a historic site that is now at peace, a visitor attraction, after centuries of playing a powerful role in national security’.  

For over 300 years the Royal Gunpowder Mills was vital for the manufacture and research of explosives and rocketry.  By the time of VE 8 May 1940, manufacture had been moved away from London, out of reach of enemy , and the site onwards became a top secret research centre.  One of the many wartime scientific contributions here was testing the bouncing bomb.  The Royal  Gunpowder Mills closed in 1991 and is now a popular visitor attraction. Go to our website to find out about all the other things you can do during your visit at this all-weather, all-day venue, like our popular land train tours, the Wildlife Walk and our interactive exhibition.  Already acknowledged for being ‘family friendly’ by the Telegraph and a participant in the Children’s University initiative, the Royal Gunpowder Mills is wheelchair and buggy friendly and has on-site parking, and was awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016.

Notes for Editor:

The Royal Gunpowder Mills is an internationally important heritage site with 300 + years of history of production of gunpowder and other explosives, propellants and rocketry.   Nowadays it is a visitor attraction which runs popular events, education and exhibitions.  Its importance is reflected by being an anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The site played a major part in WW1 munitions production and about 3000 women worked here for the first time employed on all types of tasks, including the vital cordite production up to 1918.  Shortly after World War II it became a Defence Research Establishment.   Visitors can learn more about its history on site at the many exhibits.  A must is a guided landtrain tour through 170 acres of parkland and woodland, streams and dry canals.  The site features over 20 listed buildings and mysterious structures peeping through the beautiful alder woodland once important for charcoal production and now a haven for herons, siskins, badgers, kingfishers, deer and much other wildlife.  It is a Scheduled Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Visitors range from enthusiasts of history, nature and science to young families who can enjoy our award-winning family-friendly exhibitions and activities and have a fun time learning.  We are part of the Children’s University scheme and were awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016.     


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