Also known as ‘Curtis & Harvey’s Explosive Factory’ this massive site feels somewhat like the Wild West and is accompanied by loads of sheep. It covers an enormous area of the southern Thames Estuary once threatened by Boris Johnson’s plans for an airport, but now remains as a private farm known for its historical significance. Detailed coverage of the purposes of the mysterious-looking structures here, as well as the evolution of the site, can be found in several excellent heritage reports by Historic England. The site changed owners and form throughout its history, although an overview of it’s history is as follows: (28DaysLater.co.uk)
The factory began life as a Gunpowder Works, established in 1892 by Hay, Merricks and Company, gunpowder makers of Roslin, Scotland. It was a specialised Gunpowder Works engaged only in the finishing operations of gunpowder manufacture, namely blending, dusting and packing. A jetty was constructed to receive and dispatch powder and the original licence plan showed it was intended to construct 14 buildings. However, it appears that only two buildings were erected. An amending licence was issued and the site was used for the storage of explosives and electrical detonators, with a potential capacity of 400 tons. During the Great War Curtis’s and Harvey at Cliffe was listed as a place where gunpowder was either manufactured or stored.
We have visited this place on several occasions to photograph its fascinating structures. Below are three photograph albums from multiple visits over the years, documenting the factory remains over time.
Cliffe Explosives Factory – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
- Edwardian & First World War
- Explosives Industry
- Hoo Peninsula
- Stuart Georgian and Victorian