December 2019: Kingswood History Society

January 02 2020

IN a last minute change our November talk was ‘In and Around Bristol & Gloucestershire 1914-1918’. John Penny told us about the Home Front and the invaluable work done by the civilian workforce, particularly women, whose major contribution to winning WWI is often overlooked. Many manufacturing companies switched from their normal products to war work with an expanded workforce – mostly female. Many products were changed to military purposes such as Douglas motorcycles who also made static engines for pumps and electricity generators. In excess of 3 million boots were made in Kingswood for military use, a National Shell Factory was established in St Phillips and a shell filling factory in Quedgeley using explosives made in Coleford from Toluene distilled in Portishead.

The British & Colonial Aircraft Company in Filton and Brislington made Bristol Fighters, Scouts and the B.E.2 reconnaissance aircraft. In Warmley, the Crane’s Fireworks Factory switched production to hand grenades with a workforce increased to nearly 100, mostly young women. Ten million grenades were made, which shows what a tremendous effort the firm made during the war. In Shirehampton a horse veterinary depot was established to ensure the supply of over 7,000 horses and mules for the Front. There were also military hospitals at the BRI, Southmead, Bishop’s Knoll and Fishponds. None of these undertakings could have functioned without the female workforce who were also essential in the Land Army.  

On December 3 we shall hold our AGM, Christmas Quiz and American supper - surely unmissable!

Kingswood History Society meets on the first Tuesday of each month (March-December) at 7.30pm, in the Park Centre, Kingswood High Street, (opposite the Civic Centre BS15 9TR, parking in Hollow Road, opposite the Civic Centre). 

Anyone interested in joining us should visit our website www.kingswoodhistorysociety.org or just come along to our meetings. Cost is £2.50 per visit including refreshments. Annual subscription is only £20.