Video: Blue plaque unveiled at former Barnbow site in east Leeds

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A BLUE plaque was unveiled at the site of a former ammunitions producer at the old Barnbow Royal Ordnance Factory at Cross Gates.

It was unveiled by former Barnbow worker Val Orrell, now in her 70s, who said her connection with the Barnbow factories, was a “family affair”.

Picture James Hardisty, (JH1008/19a) Leeds Civic Trust unveiled a blue plaque to celebrate the history of the Second World War Barnbow Royal Ordnance Factory on Manston Lane, Crossgates, Leeds. Pictured (left to right) Lynda Kitching, Chair Leeds Civic Trust, Val Orrell, a former employee at Barnbow, and Jacki Lawrence, from East Leeds Archaeology Society.

Picture James Hardisty, (JH1008/19a) Leeds Civic Trust unveiled a blue plaque to celebrate the history of the Second World War Barnbow Royal Ordnance Factory on Manston Lane, Crossgates, Leeds. Pictured (left to right) Lynda Kitching, Chair Leeds Civic Trust, Val Orrell, a former employee at Barnbow, and Jacki Lawrence, from East Leeds Archaeology Society.

Val, who worked in the factory for 27 years, told the gathered crowd about her family’s connections with the east Leeds factory.

She shared memories of her father who helped to build the second tank factory in the 1930s and she told the crowd that her brother was also an apprentice at the site.

Local historian Jacki Lawrence, of the East Leeds History and Archaeology Society, welcomed the plaque from Leeds Civic Trust to commemorate the former ammunitions factory.

She said: “It is fitting that a blue plaque is unveiled here, as a local history society we are delighted.

“There is a commonly held misconception that the munitions factory from World War One and the Royal Ordnance factory from World War Two were on the same site.

“This is not the case.”

The factory was recently demolished to make way for the new Bellway Homes housing estate.

The plaque was erected on the entrance gates to the former factory which still remain on Manston Lane on Monday.

Bellway also sponsored the plaque.

Lynda Kitching, chair of Leeds Civic Trust, earlier told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Leeds Civic Trust feels it is important to commemorate the Barnbow Royal Ordnance Factory because its workers played such an important role in the Second World War and subsequently it played a major role in equipping our country’s armed forces.

“For many years it was one of the major employers in the Cross Gates area of the city.”

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