Great Grandad's micrometer

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Great Grandad's micrometer

The micrometer is used in engineering to make very small, very accurate measurements. This one belonged to my Great Grandfather, Chas Wade, an engineering fitter at Woolwich Arsenal in the 1890s.

Chas was producing torpedoes, invented just 25 years earlier by Englishman Robert Whitehead. Woolwich Arsenal had been manufacturing them for the Admiralty since 1872.

In the early years of the 20th century tension was growing with Germany and arms production was stepping up. Woolwich was seen as possibly vulnerable to air attack, so the torpedo factory was moved to new site well away from the threat.

Chas became one of the 700 'Woolwichers' who settled in Gourock on the Clyde to work in the new Royal Naval Torpedo Factory. Chas and his family travelled on 5 November 1910 - my Grandad, Fred, then aged 13, remembered seeing fireworks from the train as they journeyed north.

Chas's career began just as warfare entered the industrial age. When the first industrial war started in 1914, most of Britain's torpedoes came from his workplace. By the time it closed in 1969, warfare had moved into the nuclear age, and the Gourock factory was working on Polaris missiles.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 09:18 on 3 May 2012, liscsamento wrote:

    I think my grandfather Walter Livemore, was a Woolwicher, because he was a scientific instrument maker at Woolwich Arsenal. His family were all local to that area of London. But he met my grandmother in Gourock, and my mother, born in 1919, was their only child.I can't be certain because accurate information seems to be lost. It is good to learn about others with simlar family histories.What a wonderful heirloom you have in that beautiful micro meter, regards from Ausralia.

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