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Explosive Project Blasts Off

Chris Satori

The Friends of Lancaster City Museum have received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project marking the centenary of the White Lund munitions factory explosion.

Made possible by National Lottery players through HLF’s First World War then and now programme, the project brings a creative response to the Boomtown exhibition at Lancaster City Museum, developed by schools and through community engagement.

It focuses on the centenary of the White Lund shell filling factory fires and explosions on October 1, 1917.  The explosions, between Lancaster and Morecambe, were so strong that they were felt as far away as Blackpool, Manchester, Burnley and Rossendale and cost 10 people their lives.

The project, led by the Friends of Lancaster City Museum, reveals and preserves the story through community events, talks and visits, culminating in a performance during Light Up Lancaster in November.

Talks and events include: a free lunchtime talk at the City Museum on the history of the explosion (October 6);  a free visit to Lancashire Archives in Preston to explore a range of original documents relating to White Lund (October 10), and a First World War Study Day, led by Regimental Curator, Peter Donnelly, which will focus on the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment as well as happenings in the local district, using items from the museum's collection (October 26).

Trips to the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum (October 17) and to The Devil's Porridge Museum at Gretna (October 21) take the story out of the local area for those interested to know more about munitions work and the work of fire services in this and other munitions disasters.

Blasted reaches its finale during Light Up Lancaster when there will be performances and a film made with local women and schoolchildren drawing parallels between the female munitions workers and their modern counterparts. These free performances take place at the City Museum from 5-10pm on November 3 and 5-7.30pm on November 4.

For more details on all the Blasted events, pick up a leaflet at the City Museum or go to:

Julia Krier of the Friends of Lancaster City Museum said “We are thrilled to have received the support of the National Lottery and we hope that these events and performances will enable us to share and preserve the heritage of the White Lund site on the centenary of the explosion.”