Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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H. M. Cotton Waste Mills

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His Majesty’s Cotton Waste Mills, established by the Ministry of Munitions to supply the cotton used in a nitration process to produce guncotton. The guncotton was then gelatinised with nitro-glycerine to produce cordite, the most important propellant for guns firing shells and for small arms used by Britain and her Allies in the First World War.

At the outbreak of war the majority of cotton waste supplies in the UK were controlled by the British and Foreign Supply Association. 300 tons of waste were supplied weekly by the association for the national cordite factories until in May 1918 when the mills in question were taken in to direct government control.

1. Bury - Calrow Mill

2. Charlesworth - Lee Calley Mill

3. Glasgow - Whiteinch

4. Greenfield (Oldham, Yorks)

1917 Greenfield mill was also used for experimentation in connection with nitrocellulose powder production. Post-War Greenfield Mill was converted to a paper mill and continued until the mid-2000s.

5. Hadfield - Waterside Mill

6. Kilmarnoch (Bonington Road)

7. Oldham

8. Rawenstall - Cloughfold - Constable and Holme Mills

9. Whaley Bridge - Hall's Mill

10.Woodley - Arden Mill

Managed by British and Foreign Supply Association and Direct Control

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Ministry of Munitions [1]
  • First World War National Factories; English Heritage.