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GATEBECK LOW GUNPOWDER WORKS

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Remains of Gunpowder Works built by the Wakefield family to replace their works at Old Sedgwick (UID 1077948), and built/operational 1851-1936. It lines both banks of the Peasey Beck between Endmoor and Gatebeck. The factory was originally simply Gatebeck, but became Gatebeck Low Works after 1896 when new plant - Gatebeck High Works (1450452) - was erected on a virgin site to the north. In 1876 a tramway (1516560) was built connecting the works to a wharf (1516636) on the Lancaster Canal and to Milnthorpe railway station. The factory initially had its own sawmill, but in 1880 a separate cooperage/sawmill complex (1450456) was erected outside Gatebeck village; the old sawmill is still extant (1516535). In 1917 Wakefield's merged with the Nobel organisation which became ICI, but falling orders led to eventual closure. As required by law, many buildings were dismantled and/or burned to ensure no explosives remained. In WW2 the site was requisitioned by Army Engineers (1516753), and between 1956 and 1968 was used for Civil Defence Training (1516762). Although much of the works has since been redeveloped as two caravan parks and an industrial unit, surviving features at the southern end of Millbrook Caravan Park include two corning houses, stove house, glazing house, boiler house, four pairs of incorporating mills, two charge houses and a watch house; these are all scheduled. A weir and large mill race from which smaller leats ran to provide power for waterwheels and turbines within separate process buildings, also survives down the east edge of the Park but a stove house, mixing house, various refineries, workshops, cartridge-making facilities and magazines now survive only as buried remains in the redeveloped areas. A number of administrative/ancillary buildings, however, are still upstanding (1516452, 1516446, 1516473, 1516480) converted to domestic use at the site entrance; two pairs of charcoal retorts also survive here, reset as gateposts (1516653, 1516667).

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