This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

New Sedgwick Gunpowder Works at Risk From Flooding

A former gunpowder works in Cumbria has been added to the 2017 Heritage at Risk Register following ongoing issues from flood damage.

The New Sedgwick Gunpowder Works was established in 1857 and closed in 1935 as demand for gunpowder decreased with the introduction of new explosives.

The complex is one of the best preserved examples of a 19th and early 20th century gunpowder works in northern England. Many remains of the New Sedgwick works can be seen, including the incorporating mill where the ingredients of sulphur, charcoal and saltpetre were combined to make gunpowder.

Derelict remains of New Sedgwick gunpowder works mill surrounded by bare trees and fallen leaves.
Many remains of the New Sedgwick works have survived, including those of the mill shown here, a pump house, a saltpetre refinery, a boiler station, stables and a joiner's shop, together with large parts of the water management system which powered the waterwheels and water turbines. © Historic England

Flood damage

Following severe flooding across Cumbria in winter 2015/16 the River Kent inundated the site and caused widespread damage. Many of the waterways became choked with material, leading to further problems of drainage and standing water across the site.

Next steps

Historic England's Heritage at Risk team is working with the owners and tenants to set up a management plan for routine maintenance across the site to deal with seasonal flooding. The plan will cover removal of debris from the main incorporating mill wheel pit, as well as improvements to the site so that it is resilient against future flooding.  These changes will help to ensure that this fascinating historic survival can be appreciated and understood by visitors in the future.

Was this page helpful?

Related News

  • Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, with lush vegetation in the foreground and a clear blue sky behind.

    Heritage at Risk 2017

    The Heritage at Risk Register 2017 is published today, providing the annual snapshot of the state of England’s most valued vulnerable historic places.

Also of interest...