Monday, 17 November 2014

Rules for Working at Kynoch's

Rules were strict in an ammunition factory!
 Due to the explosive nature of the substances used in the manufacture of ammunition, it was important to follow the rules laid down. This booklet was produced in October 1899 for Kynoch's Lion Works in Witton.

The front page notes that "During the period of the War, employees are engaged in the understanding that they agree to contribute at the standard weekly rate in the Kynoch War Fund for the maintenance of Highbury Hospital for Wounded Soldiers". I'm uncertain which was is being referred to here, as the Second Boer War only began 11th October 1899; it seems likely that this was a general statement referring to what was expected during any conflict. Perhaps this was a reaction from Kynoch's to criticism about their manufacture of, literally, the ammunition of war.

Number 4 seems obvious! "No workpeople shall smoke within the Factory", but it seems a shame that number 9 disallowed, as often the clothing clubs were a useful way for the poor to save up for essential items. They would pay a little into the club each week, and then when something was needed they could get the items required.

Nice to see that some thought to the safety of the workers is put into the rules with numbers 15, 16 & 17!

And there we have it......fancy a job at Kynoch's?


  1. Shutting the stable door at Kynoch’s?

    An interesting booklet set out by the Company in 1899, some time after the death of George Kynock, from which you would think that safety was paramount. Look back a few years and it is a different story.

    The best history is probably found at…

    George Kynoch’s involvement in the ammunition industry started with Pursall and Phillips in 1856, and in 1859 there was catastrophic explosion at the B’ham site at Whittall Street. The Company obtained permission to move further away from the city to the hamlet of Witton, and by 1862 Kynoch had become the proprietor.

    “1870…..The fourth explosion at the factory in two years is reported, this one on November 17th killing eight and injuring twenty, including children. On December 9th an even more appalling accident occurs in the neighbouring cartridge factory of Ludlow & Co - possibly a Kynoch licensee - when 17 people are killed instantly and 34 more will die later from their injuries; a national outcry ensues.”

    1. Great information, bringing the document to life! Thanks