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Admiralty - Sheffield


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dunsbyowl1867

I came across this memorial below in Burngreave Cem. and thought to myself that was a long way from the sea but I understand the Admiralty had a number on establishments in Sheffield - anyone know any more? I assume this is were this chap would have worked?

From National Archives

The Naval Ordnance Inspection Department (NOID) was formed under the Chief Inspector of Naval Ordnance (CINO) in 1922 to avoid the deficiencies in quality of guns and ammunition which had previously become evident after the battles of the Falkland Islands and Jutland, amongst others in the First World War. An area organisation was created to supervise the new manufacture of weapons and empty and filled ammunition, to carry out proof firing at the various ranges, and to provide a world-wide service to the fleet based on gunwharfs and ammunition depots. This was later extended to torpedo manufacture and ranging, and to mines.

In later years reorganisations caused new names to be given to NOID; firstly, Directorate of Weapons Quality (DWQ(N)), then, Directorate of Naval Ordnance Services (DN Ord S), and later Directorate of Technical Services (Warship Equipment) (DTS(WE)).

A laboratory for conducting metallurgical testing and instrumentation work for CINO was opened in Sheffield before World War Two, and was known as the Bragg Laboratory from 1938 onwards. In the course of time it came to employ a wide range of chemical and physical analytical techniques, but the organisation and functions remained largely unchanged until 1968. At that time the chemical work was separated to become part of the Directorate of Chemical Inspection [later Directorate Quality Assurance (Material)-MQAD], Army Department, at Woolwich. The laboratory continued, with reduced work, as the Naval Ordnance Inspection [later Service] and Metallurgical Unit (NOIMU, later NOSMU). The unit was finally closed in 1984, its work being transferred to Woolwich.

A subsidiary laboratory, dealing with propellants, existed at the Royal Naval Propellant Factory, Caerwent, Chepstow, until 1971.

Staff were sent from the Caerwent laboratory to man the tetryl laboratory which re-opened at the Royal Naval Cordite Factory, Holton Heath, in 1946. In 1947 the Admiralty Materials Laboratory was formed at the factory.

The Naval Ordnance Gauge Factory, Sheffield, was also under the supervision of NOID.

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It was on the right hand side of Janson Street as you went up from Brightside Lane. I worked at English Steel 1960-1967 & knew at least one man who worked there but can't remember much else.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Mike Grist

I worked at Bragg Laboratory from about 1972 up to its closure in 1984.

The Bragg Lab name specifically referred to the two storey building at the back of the Naval Ordnance services Establishment and in it's later years had no real service connection to the Navy business in the main buildings. The Bragg Lab was technically called MQAD ie the Materials Quality Assurance Directorate and as such did metals analysis for all parts of the armed forces (not just Navy) because it was part of the MOD Procurement Executive. In practice MQAD Bragg Lab was an "out station" administered from HQ in Woolwich Arsenal West.

When Bragg Lab closed some of the younger staff transferred to HQ however most of the older analysts didn't bother and many of the married ladies didn't either because in most cases their husbands had steady jobs in Sheffield. This of course was probably the main object of closure as it was a time when Governments (particularly Thatcher's) wanted to reduce the size of the Civil Service. At that time if you were graded at Scientific Officer or above you were difficult to get rid of, but the rules did allow for you to be offered "alternative transfer" to other MOD establishments. I was offered three choices, ie Woolwich HQ, Bishopton (near Glasgow) and Moenchengladbach ! If you refused the choices you technically resigned.

Out of the 30 or so staff at Bragg Lab I reckon about 10 or so stayed with the MOD, most of those going to Woolwich (me included)

The Bragg Lab shared facilities with the Naval Ordnance services Establishment which "back in the day" included a medical room with nurse(s) and a canteen meal service. If you were high enough up in the pecking order you were "invited" to join the "officers mess" a nearly secret society with their own mess room and run on services lines with a mess manager, locked drinks cabinet and pictures of the Queen on the wall. Old habits died hard.

Whilst there was an official enterence at the front of the building this was rarely used, most employees entered via the rear entrance, through the rear gates and entrance was only by waving your MOD pass to the "security" on the gate. Being a Naval Establishment the entrance here also had a flag pole and flag (half mast when disaster struck somewhere) plus a ship's figurehead called Scylla (a screw corvette if memory serves). I often wonder where Scylla ended up. I didn't see the final destruction of MQAD and the NOSE as I was one of the advance party that went to Woolwich.

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  • 5 years later...

Sheffield in the latter part of the 19th and up to the mid 20th century was a vital part of the UK armaments industries. We made guns, turrets, armour plate and a host of other military equipment and vital parts. Naturally, with such an interest in what was being produced the Admiralty had works to test what was being manufactured for them. I have never heard the tale of hand guns!

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  • 1 year later...
calibrator
On 04/11/2018 at 14:21, Julietu said:

My dad Ken Morgan worked at the naval ordnance services up to them closing it down and he was made redundant

I remember your dad, I was younger than him so didn't have a lot in common but I do remember speaking to him. Did he live on Rushby Street about 3 houses from the church building and behind a very tall privet hedge? I started work at the Naval Ordnance in August 1968 as an apprentice, I have a booklet with my indentures that has a photo of your dad working on a milling machine. If you like I could copy it and send you the scan. Email me if you would like a copy.

Cheers, Pete

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Julietu

Hi Pete

i would love to see the photo as dad is now sadly no longer with us. We lived on owler Lane next to fir vale Methodist church. That’s where I grew up and dad worked at naval ordnance until they closed down so made him redundant. Later he worked at sheffield testing laboratories on nursery st he was head hunted as there were only a few qualified to do this job he stayed there till he retired. Then they sold up and went to live in longley farm estate. So glad they moved out when they did as the area was starting to go down. However they were very happy in their flat. Shall I give you my email address for the photo.

 Thankyou for this

best wishes 

julie

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Julietu

Sorry I’ve just seen the last bit of your post x my email address is turnerhome@live.co.uk

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calibrator
22 hours ago, Julietu said:

Sorry I’ve just seen the last bit of your post x my email address is turnerhome@live.co.uk

Hi, email sent with photo.

Cheers, Pete

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  • 3 months later...
Colinsfoot

May not be anything to do with the topic, but when I was at Rowlinson school in the sixties, there was some old abandonded buildings adjacent to the school (roughly where the leisure centre is now) and we always knew it as the Admiralty. We used to disappear into it on sports day to avoid conscription.;-)

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