Collection: Silvertown Explosion

Venesta Chemical Works, North Woolwich Road, Silvertown, Newham, Greater London Authority
Collection containing Photographic material
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21 photographic prints and one copy negative documenting the damage to Brunner Mond's Venesta Works chemical factory in Silvertown, following an explosion in 1917.

The factory was originally opened in 1893 to produce soda crystals and caustic soda. During the First World War, the War Office took over part of the factory to purify TNT. The explosion which occurred on 19 January 1917 killed 73 people and caused widespread damage to the surrounding area, much of which was densely populated.

The prints are stamped on the reverse by the Fire Office Committee Fire Protection Association, and were presumably taken for insurance purposes.

Archival History

Provenance : Presumably taken for insurance purposes as they are all stamped on the reverse "This picture may not be reproduced with out permission of the F.O.C. Fire Protection Association". Two of the prints are stamped "Walsham's" on the reverse.


This Collection is divided into 2 Child Series
This Collection contains the following materials:
Photograph (Negative): 1
Photograph (Print): 21


Source: Historic England Archive


First World War Explosives Factory, Early 20th Century Chemical Works, First World War