Rotherwas Munitions Factory

The Waterworks Museum is home to the only permanent exhibition to World War II in Hereford

In 2003, the attention of Museum volunteers was drawn to the derelict site of what was the Royal Ordnance Munitions factory at Rotherwas on the outskirts of Hereford. What they found in a windowless bunker was breath taking. In more or less the state it was left at the end of WWII stood, in total darkness, a Blackstone 5-cylinder diesel engine, multi belt drive system and a Mather & Platt two stage centrifugal pump.

All the ancillaries were just as they had been left – even the WWII signs were on the walls and the original lighting system in place (albeit power supply had been long since disconnected).

These artefacts are now in the safe custody of the Museum and housed in the purpose built Rotherwas Building, which echoes many aspects of the original bunker. Here, our exhibition tells the story of the Rotherwas Munitions Factory (including the story of the air raid on 7 July 1942), of fire fighting at the munitions factory and of life on the home front in Hereford.

The full story of the recovery and restoration and display of the artefacts from Rotherwas is told in a book: The Blackstone Goes to War (Life and Fire-fighting at the Rotherwas Munitions Factory).