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The Commemoration Collection continues this summer with Factory No.6, brewed to mark 100 years since one of Britain’s worst wartime disasters.

The Commemoration Collection began in June 2014, marking the centenary of the First World War.

Factory No.6 is a cloudy citrus fruit beer, brewed with fruit on a wheat base. Find out more about the recipe on our ‘specials’ page. As with all Commemoration Collection beers, we donate to charity for each pint sold, to help those facing warfare today.

During the First World War, Britain needed millions of shells to fire on the Western Front. Many of those shells were manufactured around the country and delivered to a specially-built factory in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. On 1st July 1918, eight tons of explosives detonated, killing 134 people.

10,000 people worked in the Chilwell munitions factory, including many women. During the war, munitions workers were nicknamed the “Canary Girls” due to the yellowing of the skin caused by exposure to poisons. Chest pain, nausea and skin irritation were also recorded among workers at Factory No.6.

Still, they worked 12-hour shifts at the country’s most productive shell-filing factory.  However, the factory was top secret. The site had been chosen due to flat land in a dip (to shield explosions), with good road and rail links, in the suburbs of Nottinghamshire.

A rare photograph of Factory No.6 prior to the explosion, kindly provided to us by a local historian group. This particular photograph was recreated as a watercolour painting by our in-house artist, to feature on the pump clip.

The Chilwell blast was one of Britain’s worst wartime civilian catastrophes and caused the biggest loss of life from a single explosion during the Great War. It was reportedly heard 30 miles away. Due to the secret nature of the factory, the explosion was washed over, with newspapers simply reporting ‘60 feared dead in Midlands factory explosion’. Scotland Yard was called in to investigate possible sabotage, while most of the dead were buried in a mass grave in Attenborough village.

It was another 50 years before a memorial was erected, though it’s still tucked in the confines of an army base. This July, the local community has banded together to commemorate the disaster, lead by St Mary’s Church in Attenborough. From a memorial nature trail to historical talks, to theatre performances and a period tea party, there are plenty of ways to get involved and commemorate the Chilwell blast. On Sunday 1st July, a century on, a new memorial will be dedicated to the victims of the tragedy.

View the programme of commemorative events.

Some may wonder why we choose to brew beers like Factory No.6. It’s hardly a topic for lighthearted pub chat. But for us, we will always brew beer, and we will always be a group of people putting heart into what we do. For us, we see beer as an opportunity to bring people together for serious conversations when lighthearted chat won’t cut it. It’s an honour to be able to commemorate the First World War 100 years on, and bring these conversations to bars across the East Midlands and beyond.

Factory No.6: Chilwell Blast will be available from July.


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