Between November 2010 and January 2011 English Heritage undertook detailed archaeological survey and analysis of a former chemical explosives factory covering approximately 128 hectares of estuarine marshland in the northwest corner of the Hoo Peninsula, Medway. The study was undertaken as part of the wider Hoo Peninsula Historic Landscape Project and presents a comprehensive record and analysis of the surface remains along with the first meticulous and accurate plan of the whole site and a detailed history of the factory. Initially, Hay, Merricks & Co set up a small-scale gunpowder storage facility here in 1892. Then in 1898, the site was acquired by Curtis’s & Harvey Ltd who quickly established a new chemical explosives factory. The works grew rapidly, and during the First World War it became a government-controlled establishment manufacturing a range of propellant and blasting explosives with a primary focus on producing naval cordite. It was a short-lived enterprise, closing around 1920 due to the post-war reduction in demand for munitions. The site is on land owned by the Port of London Authority and managed by tenant farmers. There is no public access to the site.

The north-western part of Curtis and Harvey Ltd’s explosives factory on Cliffe Marshes taken from the detailed analytical field survey, reduced from the original at 1:10,000. It shows a variety of different features once connected by narrow gauge tramway (surviving rails shown in red). These include the nitroglycerin hill, gun cotton stoves, cordite drying stoves and the acid factory. Historic England.

The north-western part of Curtis and Harvey Ltd’s explosives factory on Cliffe Marshes taken from the detailed analytical field survey, reduced from the original at 1:10,000. It shows a variety of different features once connected by narrow gauge tramway (surviving rails shown in red). These include the nitroglycerin hill, gun cotton stoves, cordite drying stoves and the acid factory.
Historic England
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