View of munition factory, Waterford

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Where: Waterford, Ireland

Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.

When: 05 April 1917

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
We have a photo dated a little over 100 Years ago from Mr Poole. There seems to be some building works still progressing on the site and everything looks new, I see railway tracks which should help with finding the location of this impressive factory.

Based on the lying snow, we first questioned the catalogue date - but Niall McAuley noted that there was heavy snow in April of that year, confirming Spring 1917. We also heard from sharon.corbet, beachcomberaustralia, and from ofarrl (whose grandmother worked here) and learned that the Waterford Cartridge Factory closed within 2 years of this photo. The site and tracks were later used by other industries (including Siemens-Schuckert and Stanley stoves). Streetviews from 2009 show some rusting buildings remaining - but updates from 2014 confirm its now a cleared site....


Photographer: A. H. Poole

Collection: Poole Photographic Studio, Waterford

Date: 5 April 1917

NLI Ref: POOLEIMP 1675

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 16869
ahpoole arthurhenripoole glassnegative nationallibraryofireland factory munition bilberry riversuir river snow waterford munster firstworldwar cartridges 1917 18poundershellcasings longgone waterfordcartridgefactory cartridgefactory poolephotographiccollection

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    sharon.corbet

    • 24/May/2017 05:41:27

    The factory was at Bilberry which was the site of the terminus of the Waterford South Railway. On 22nd December 1916 the Waterford News reported that the ladies were at work greasing the machinery and carrying out light work but had not yet commenced making munitions. In 1917 they commenced making cartridges and continue to do so until after the war. The factory closed in the Summer of 1919.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 24/May/2017 05:49:26

    There are a bunch more photos taken by Poole of the factory mainly focussed on the interior and the tracks leading to it.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 24/May/2017 07:56:29

    The OSI 25" is earlier - the terminus is still in use and the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway is not connected across the bridge we see in the background here.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 24/May/2017 08:21:00

    Streetview in 2009 shows lots of rusty factory buildings on the site. The google aerial view says it has been cleared. Streetview from across the river in 2014 shows the cleared site.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 24/May/2017 08:30:06

    In January 1919 the UK government "offered for sale" the munitions factory, along with ones in Manchester and Worcestershire. "Many firms are keenly anxious to buy such established factories, as the cost of labour and scarcity of material will make the building of others very uncertain for some years." From - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/153001733 5 April 1917 was a Thursday

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    Niall McAuley

    • 24/May/2017 09:21:30

    Waterford Archaeological & Historical Society facebook page has some more info: The site lay derelict until the 1934 when Waterford foundry (Stanley) was built on the site. Waterford stanley made use of the rail link to export and receive goods. Waterford south rail link ceased operation in 1974 and was taken up in 1976, Gracedieu junction being removed in September of the same year. The track bed became over grown, until the Suir Valley Railway opened up the line as far as the bridge in bilberry. PS: Waterford South Terminus station was the Waterford to Dungarvan – Lismore rail line terminating at the Waterford south station, it opened to traffic in August 12 1878, but was not to remain a terminus as an act of July 22 1878 gave power for an extension nearer to the city .A proposed extension to line was to tunnel through Bilberry Rock, pass behind Cherry’s brewery (now Guinness brewery) and terminate at the junction of Bridge street and Marys street. This extension to the line never when ahead! ( Waterford to Tramore Railway line opening in 1854). The station was isolated from the main line until the opening of the Suir railway bridge in 1906, this put the station on a siding from the main line, so alas the station closed on 1908. The train was used to transport the shell casings from Waterford, so where?? What port? The station most famous visitor was the king of England/Ireland Edward vii in 2nd may 1904, where he stood on the Waterford south platform, where knighthood was conferred on the Mayor Sir James Power, Sir James was thrice Mayor of the city from 1903 to 1906 Waterford Royal visit, King and Queen on Grand Stand steps

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 24/May/2017 09:33:44

    Thanks all - Have updated the map accordingly. What do we think about the date? The catalogue suggests April, but it looks like there's been a relatively recent snow-fall in the image. Was April 1917 especially cold?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 24/May/2017 09:34:34

    5 April 1917, and there is snow lying everywhere! Heavy Snowfalls 1917 from www.met.ie: An even more severe snow storm struck on the 1 st April 1917. Many places were cut off for several days. Snow lay to an estimated depth of 1.3 m with drifts of 3.0 m. In 1917 falls in Ireland, at least in the south and west, were the heaviest since February, 1892, and probably the heaviest in the whole 50 years (back to 1876)

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 24/May/2017 09:38:02

    Aha https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley. And snap! That makes sense. The snow made me question the catalogue date. But if anything it would appear to confirm it!

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    ofarrl

    • 24/May/2017 13:19:49

    My grandmother worked there before she got married and I remember she had two polished brass shell cases on display in her kitchen. This was the Waterford National Cartridge Factory and it only produced 18 pounder shell casings. At the time of the Armistice it was producing 25,000 brass cases a week and employed 519 people, 257 of them women. The site was later used as a storage yard for Siemens-Schuckert and later on became the site of Waterford Iron Foundry which produced the Stanley cast iron stoves.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 25/May/2017 07:09:32

    I never realized the shell casings were re-used several times, and there are enthusiasts and collectors out there who trace the shells via various markings and dates on the flat end. For example this one on Flickr - [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8420275020/] Evidently the marking for Waterford manufacture is Wa; I have not yet found one, but did find that "...the Waterford production line was shut down at the end of WW1, it was procured by the Australian Government at scrap price. The production line was then set up at Footscray in Melbourne as a dedicated cartridge case factory. ..." !! From - 1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/194225... (near foot of page)

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/May/2017 12:26:04

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Interesting find, well done, awaiting a photo of a Waterford made shell casing!!