In a hidden valley near Rochdale is a forgotten site from World War Two - a Munitions Works at
Healey Dell where bombs and shells were filled. It opened in 1941 and closed two years later. In that time it produced around 130 million 20lb bombs and 25lb shells. Today you can still see many of the buildings that were either adapted for war work or purpose built. There are pillboxes, air raid shelters and magazines still standing. All this in a beautiful setting - a nature reserve - SEE ITS PAGE HERE .
Above: Magazine, Magazine, Chemist Shop and Fitters Shop - One of these now sells excellent custom printed mugs
Above Top: Former Administration Offices, now a Tea Room.
Above: Former Police Station
Above Left: Canteen, Below Left: Stores, Above Right: Bomb Packing & Bomb Filling
These two photos are on display on site and are actual contemporary photos of the workers
There are FOUR pillboxes across the site, two on each side of the valley. They are roughly on the edges of the site.
Top two photos: Near the railway line on the East side of the site.
Bottom Two photos: Again on the East side, but much lower down, near the fishing club, by the resevoir.
Right: Outside the wire. This pillbox on the western side of the site is outside the perimeter fence in a farmer's field. It is also the most damaged,
Right: Some way into the woods by the side of the perimeter fence is this pillbox - strangely it seems to face into the valley where the factory is situated. It seems to be the wrong way around?
To see a 5th pillbox just outside the site CLICK HERE
Below: Four photos showing some of the three magazines and associated buildings.
Right: One of several Air Raid Shelters on the site and its escape hatch (below) should the entrance become blocked.
There are lots of bases from Nissen huts in the woods (see Right) - literally dozens of them.
Some still stand (Left and Below) and some of them are very long. I wonder why?
Below Left: A modern row of concrete blocks on the way down to the site say "Danger Hazardous Materials. Keep To Footpath".
And on the site (Right) there are some interesting chemicals coming out of the ground.
Above: Some of the original buildings have been converted into housing.
Below: The site is now part of Healey Dell Nature Reserve and it is free to visit.
And finally: "According to an undated newspaper report, ‘The Government shell-filling factory at Healey Dell largely recruited its labour from amongst those who were displaced from cotton. Opened in 1941, it closed two years later, having been engaged in filling 25 pounder shells and doing some mine work’ (Anon nd). A post-war publication on the Royal Ordnance Factories noted that ‘Healey Hall filled 136 million 20-lb. bombs for the R.A.F.’ (Hay 1949, 68)." taken from THIS REPORT CLICK HERE
There is a Pillbox just outside the site
that is most probably linked to it.
Our sincere thanks to James
For telling us about this fantastic site!