The Great War explosives filling factory at Chilwell established in 1915 with two main aims of meeting the demands of the army on the Western Front for vast quantities of artillery shells and to fill these shells with the novel product - amatol. The factory was damaged by an accidental explosion in 1918 and rebuilt soon after. However, at the end of the war the factory was partly dismantled. The site was later reused as a military stores depot known as the Central Ordnance Depot and it retained this role throughout the Second World War and up to the present day.
The factory was known as National Filling Factory No.6 Chilwell and it was one of the most important filling factories in the country. It filled over 50% of the 60-pounder and 15-inch shells used during the war around 19,250,000 shells. In addition, it also filled naval mines and aerial bombs.
Lord Chetwynd was responsible for the construction and operation of the new factory and Chilwell was chosen as the site due to its central location in between the shell manufacturers in the north and the embarkation ports in the south. Chilwell was the scene of the worst accidental munitions explosion of
the Great War in Britain when on 1 July 1918 the ammonium nitrate plant exploded resulting in the loss of 134 lives.
Within the present depot a number of buildings from the Great War survive which have been adapted to new uses. The largest surviving building is the former shell store. Its floor area covered nearly 9 acres and it could hold up to 600,000 filled shells and 100,000 empty shells.