Once a decision had been made on the site the factory was constructed and working
in the remarkably short time of nine months. In order to achieve this considerable
manpower was drafted in so that, it is said, the factory construction affected many
other projects across the country.
On one Friday in 1916, the contractor, Topham, Jones and Railton, laid off 500 bricklayers
as the work was coming to an end. Works continued for some time on less important
aspects and, for instance, the rail embankment to Rockley Pier for dispatch of Cordite
was not finished until the end of the war.
The nucleus of the operating staff was provided by The Royal Gunpowder Works at Waltham
Abbey and personnel were also sent there from Dorset to obtain training. There seemed
to be no shortage of workers willing to face the hazards of an explosives factory
and they were better paid than the local agricultural workers.