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Elswick Works, Newcastle: HQ of the Biggest WW1 Munitions Company

During World War One, Armstrong-Whitworth became the biggest company producing munitions in the world and the Elswick Works, which stretched for more than a mile along the banks of the Tyne, was its headquarters and most important site.

It began life in 1847 when William Armstrong opened a small factory making hydraulic machinery a mile and a half to the west of the centre of Newcastle. It expanded rapidly into armament production and shipbuilding.

During WW1, the Elswick Works produced a huge quantity of munitions including hydraulic machinery, ships, guns and shells. The company also owned the Walker Naval shipyard and built aircraft on Newcastle’s Town Moor.

By the end of the war, Armstrong-Whitworth employed 78,000 people - 60,000 of them on the Tyne.

Location: Elswick, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NE99 1BX
Image: Workers at the Elswick Works, courtesy of IWM

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