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Woolwich Arsenal (Committee Of Inquiry)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is able to state the terms of reference and the members of the Committee he proposes to set up to inquire into the status of Woolwich Arsenal?

The constitution of the Committee on the future of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, is as follows:

  • Chairman.
  • Sir James Stevenson, Bt., G.C.M.G.
  • Members.
  • Mr. George Balfour, M.P.
  • Sir J. Creedy, K.C.B., C.V.O (Secretary of the War Office).
  • Mr. Eyres-Monsell, M.P. (Civil Lord of the Admiralty).
  • Sir Howard Frank, Bt., K.C.B. (Director-General of Lands, War Office).
  • Mr. A. Hayday, M.P.
  • Colonel (temporary Colonel on the Staff) B. R. Kirwan, C.B., C.M.G. (Director of Artillery, War Office).
  • Mr. H. Mensforth, C.B.E. (Director-General of Factories, War Office).
  • Captain H. R. Norbury, C.B., R.N. (Director of Armament Supply, Admiralty).
  • Joint Secretaries.
  • Mr. G. F. S. Hills (War Office).
  • Mr. S. H. Leake (Private Secretary to Sir James Stevenson, Colonial Office).

Terms of Reference.

In view of the fact that since the establishment of Woolwich there are many new factors which call for consideration, such as the liability to attack from the air, the alteration in manufacturing conditions caused by the vast developments in the industrial and transport conditions of the United Kingdom, the existence both of the war factories and the increased trade facilities and the difficulties of maintaining the Arsenal on a peace basis, and as these differences may call for corresponding alterations in the general policy of munitions supply and design, and having regard to the large industrial population of Woolwich and the unemployment caused by the reduction during peace time of the necessary output of Woolwich, the Committee are asked:—

  • (1) To report on the practicability of transferring all or part of the manufacturing functions of Woolwich, (a) to Government factories in a locality less exposed to attack from the air and better situated from the point of view of provision of material and power, or (b) in part to the private trade.
  • (2) If the second alternative is the more desirable, to suggest what further steps are necessary to ensure that adequate supplies will be forthcoming in war as well as in peace.
  • (3) If manufacturing is to be continued in whole or in part at Woolwich, to examine the possibilities of concentration so as to provide space for other industrial developments by private enterprise.
  • (4) If it is found desirable to remove the work of inspection, research, testing, etc., from Woolwich to propose a scheme for carrying out these functions.