Search

Remembrance Sunday: The secret munitions factory in the underground tunnels at Gants Hill

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 November 2012

Plessey - in wartime 1940 - working in central line underground near Gants Hill

Plessey - in wartime 1940 - working in central line underground near Gants Hill

Archant

As Remembrance Sunday approaches, we take a look at the Second World War from a new perspective – the women’s war. The most devastating conflict in history brought war home for the first time and life was turned upside down for Redbridge women as they had to fill new roles in factories, farming and the military.

One of the greatest roles women played in the Second World War was in the heaving factories across the country.

In Redbridge, women made up a large proportion of the 2,000-strong workforce in the Plessey munitions factory.

The unusual factory occupied the newly-completed five mile stretch of tube tunnels between Leytonstone and the station eventually called Gants Hill.

The company had a premises in Ley Street since 1924 but the threat of bombing prompted the Ministry of Aircraft Production to ask London Transport’s permission for the factory to move underground.

Plessey opened in 1942, complete with escalators, air conditioning, a miniaIn Redbridge, women made up the majority of the 2,000-strong workforce in the Plessey munitions factory.

The unusual factory occupied the newly-completed five mile stretch of tube tunnels between Leytonstone and the station eventually called Gants Hill.

The company had a premises in Ley Street since 1924 but the threat of bombing prompted the Ministry of Aircraft Production to ask London Transport’s permission for the factory to move underground.

Plessey opened in 1942, complete with escalators, air conditioning, a minature railway and canteens.

Women made an array of components for the military and defence equipment including shell cases, aircraft parts and radio equipment.

King George visited the factory to show his respect for the work during the war.

The factory continued production until 1945 and after the war ended the tunnels were eventually put back to their intended use for the opening of the Central Line extension in 1947.

ture railway and canteens.

Women made an array of components for the military and defence equipment including shell cases, aircraft parts and radio equipment.

King George even visited the factory to show his respect for the work during the war.

The factory continued production until 1945 and after the war ended, the tunnels were eventually put back to their intended use for the opening of the Central Line extension in 1947.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder