Canteen staff, Frobisher Hall, Swynnerton

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Date:1940 - 1942 (c.)

Description:All the canteen staff at Frobisher Hall. Front row, far left are Mr and Mrs Walker, the Manager and Manageress. Living with Mrs Walker at Frobisher Hall at the time was her teenage son, Tony Hancock, later to become a famous comedian.

Frobisher Hall was a hostel for workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Swynnerton during and just after the 2nd World War. Workers at R.O.F. Swynnerton, a high percentage of which were women, filled shells, bombs and other armaments, inclusing 22mm shells for Spitfires, detonators, boosters and tracer shells. The work was unpleasant and dangerous and the explosive powder could turn skin and hair yellow. Even worse, a number of women lost fingers, hands or even limbs in explosions at the factory. 5,000 people started work in 1940, many of whom came up from Woolwich and the east end of London, housed in hostels built near the factory at Swynnerton, Yarnfield and Coldmeece. By 1942 the workforce had increased to 18,000, may of whom were recruited from the Potteries, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone and other local towns and villages. New housing was built in Walton and Coldmeece to house the workers. The factory reduced in size after the war, but remained open until 1958.

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Image courtesy of: Mrs A. Webb

Donor ref:AW-05 (55/25020)

Source: Miscellaneous Collection

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