HC Deb 21 March 1872 vol 210 c394

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, looking to the deterioration of property in the neighbourhood, from the general belief (in consequence of the Stowmarket explosion) in the dangerous nature of the manufactory, and to the natural alarm that exists among the inhabitants of the town in the centre of which it has been established, the Government will reconsider their determination to carry on a manufactory of Gun Cotton in the town of Waltham Abbey?


Sir, my right hon. and gallant Friend the Surveyor General of Ordnance (Sir Henry Storks) gave a pledge at the end of the last Session that a Committee should be appointed to consider the question of the storage and manufacture of gun-cotton. That Committee consisted of experienced military officers and eminent civil scientific men. Colonel Young husband was the President of it. No one interested in the manufacture was a member of it. They have reported that it is manufactured wet, and is in every stage perfectly uninflammable, and that no danger can possibly arise. It is not intended to dry it at Waltham Abbey, or to permit it to be there in a dry state. I have seen Colonel Young husband this morning. He authorizes me to state that the vicar and another leading inhabitant and owner of property, who resides within 300 yards of the works, have informed him that no alarm is felt, and that property in the town never had so high a value. In fact, the extension of the works is welcomed as bringing business to the place.