Barnbow No 1 (Leeds) National Filling Factory,
3rd May 1916 View of the National Filling Factory at Barnbow during the First World War. The factory opened in December 1915 for the production of shells for use by the troops. The staff employed in filling the shells were predominantly women (c93%) as most of the men were away at war. The work was extremely hazardous with 3 fatal explosions taking place, and exposure to dangerous chemicals left many women with skin and hair turning yellow, leading to them being dubbed the "Barnbow Canaries". This view shows the "C" Factory, specifically constructed for the production of Amatol, a highly explosive material made up of TNT and ammonium nitrate. This was the Preparation House, which along with the Incorporating House, Weighing Room, no 3 Press House and the Empty and Filled Shell Stores, was complete by 22nd June 1916 and the filling, under hydraulic pressure, of shells began immediately. The no. 2 Incorporating House and nos. 1 & 2 Press Houses were finished in July and August, and by September the whole of the "B" and "C" factories were complete and capable of filling from 300,000 to 400,000 shells weekly.