The story behind Powder Mill Lane in Dartford

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 September 2012

Powder mill lane

Powder mill lane


Currently used as the site for various businesses in Dartford, Powder Mill Lane’s name derives from the trade based there in the 18th century – gunpowder.

Although the most famous gunpowder-related story by far is Guy Fawkes and his plot to blow up Parliament, the mills in Dartford played their part in defending the nation and the Empire.

The area of Wilmington, where Powder Mill Lane is situated, was ideal for gunpowder producing because of its natural resources.

Producing gunpowder requires water power, so river sites were convenient, as well as large amounts of charcoal, meaning places with large woodland areas were ideal.

Other mills were opened in the area to help with the production required to sustain the demand, and by the early 19th century the powder-works were some of the largest in the country.

Whilst in operation, there were a series of explosions at the site, with at least 27 people reportedly being killed in the second half of the 18th century.

Gunpowder production ended on the site at the start of the 20th century, which has been almost totally unused since around 1920.

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