Working at Priddy's Hard

Because gunpowder, and the explosives which later replaced it were highly dangerous, workers at Priddy’s Hard had to wear special clothing and footwear in any ‘clean’ rooms or walkways. These are area’s in which any explosives or other hazardous materials may have been prepared, stored or handled.

By the 1850’s overalls were made of stout woollen cloth called ‘fearnought’. This was secured with loops and ties, bone buttons and trouser braces. On their heads men wore a tight cap.

As the men of Priddy’s Hard went off to fight in the First World War, female munitions workers were employed at the site for the first time. Recruitment began in 1915 and by 1918 the number of women workers totalled 662. During the Second World War, large numbers of women were again recruited in all sections of the depot. They wore dark coloured clothing and a cloth cap. It is estimated that during the Second World War, as many as 3,000 women workers were employed at Priddy’s Hard.

Munitions workers clocking on in the morning had to change from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ clothes. This was done in special changing rooms called shifting rooms.