Gillett & Johnston Munitions Factory in Croydon during WW1
Gillett & Johnston was during the 1st WW a munitions factory. Ordered by the Director General of Munitions Supply to make Fuses, Fuse Caps, Safety pins and Fitted Holders.
The factory became full of women workers for the first time a liberating experience for Women who were able to have the freedom and the wages that only men had enjoyed so far. Although Munitions factories were considered dangerous places to work as a lot of work involved handling TNT they were highly paid and caused a lot of women to leave domestic service. Women workers became known as canaries due to the yellow tinge there skin turned after exposure to the sulphur in TNT. 400 women died from overexposure to TNT during WW1 luckily Gillett & Johnston seemed to of mainly dealt with fuses and fuse caps.
The women employed in munitions factories popularly known as Munitonettes have become the most visible face of women workers in WW1. Over 700,000 women worked in the munition industry in England during the 1st WW with Munitionettes producing 80% of the weapons and shells used by the British Army. Lloyd George’s government seized factories for the making of munitions and suspended all trade union activity in them.
In an order from 26th Jan 1916 500 no.18 mark III fuses were ordered. Then on 7th March 1916 200 no.18 mark II were ordered as well as 300 fuse caps, 300 safety pins & 35 fitted holders. On 29th March 1916 15000 fuses no 106 design were ordered and on 23rd Oct 1916 160000 fuses no 106 were ordered.
For more information about Gillett & Johnston’s work during the 1st WW please call us on 01883 740000 or, if preferred use the contact us form.