Educational day out: Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

by Emily

Gunpowder isn't just for Guy Fawkes, you know. At the Royal Gunpowder Mills, in Waltham Abbey, Essex, you can found out all about the history of this explosive stuff!

The site used to be one of three Royal Gunpowder Mills in the UK but it is the only site to have survived intact for all of these years. Set in nearly 200 acres of parkland, Royal Gunpowder Mills comprises 21 buildings of major historical importance.

It is an important historical site because, 300 years ago when the Mills were established, gunpowder provided the form of energy that changed the world by encouraging trade, exploration, mining, and civil engineering. Of course, it also served the military purposes of conquest and defence.

These days, there's a lot to see on the Essex site. Its interactive exhibition helps you to understand the history and science behind gunpowder whilst the impressive armoury brings together small arms and militaria. There are more than 200 guns on display, covering the periods from the English Civil War to the conflicts that surround us today.

There is also a transport and fire exhibit where you can get up close to fire fighting equipment and a rocket exhibition where sparks might fly! There is also lots of wildlife to enjoy and learn about in the parkland surrounding the Mills, providing a quiet respite from all those bangs and guns.

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