The Great War: Memorial for North Yorkshire victims to be listed

Below, Barnbow Munitions Factory
Below, Barnbow Munitions Factory

A memorial to the women, including many from Harrogate, Wetherby and Tadcaster, who died in one of the worst homeland disasters of the First World War is being listed by English Heritage.

The memorial in York stands in memory of some of the victims in the munitions factory explosion at Barnbow in Leeds in December 1916.

Editorial image

Editorial image

The explosion occurred after a shell was put it one of the machines in room 42, designed to screw the fuse into the case tightly.

At 10.27pm on Tuesday, December 5, 1916, 35 women and girls were killed and many more injured.

At the time the catastrophe was censored, and the media could only say that people had died, without referring to how it had happened, until six years after the event.

The story of the women who lost their lives at Barnbow is now being remembered after almost 100 years.

English Heritage principal inspector of ancient monuments Neil Redfern said: “Barnbow is one of those extraordinary stories which remains very evocative.

“The explosion came just after the terrible losses at the Battle of the Somme, which saw the Leeds Pals decimated. Now it was happening on home soil.”

Some of the housing developments in the area around the Barnbow factory site are naming streets after some of the women who died.

Most of the factory workers were women drawn from across Yorkshire, and from Leeds, York, Harrogate, Wetherby, Tadcaster, Selby, and Wakefield.


Visit the dedicated First World War section of this website