Coordinates: 53°54′58″N 1°19′08″W / 53.916°N 1.319°W / 53.916; -1.319 ROF Thorp Arch was one of sixteen World War II, UK government-owned Royal Ordnance Factory, which produced munitions. It was a medium-sized filling factory (Filling Factory No. 9).
It was located on the banks of the River Wharfe, north east of the two villages of Boston Spa and Thorp Arch; and four miles south east of the town of Wetherby, West Yorkshire in England. It was linked to the London & North Eastern Railway line, which was used in its construction, for supplying raw materials and for transporting away filled munitions.
It was constructed for the Ministry of Supply, with the Ministry of Works acting as agents. Thorp Arch opened in March 1940 and produced munitions for both the Army and the Royal Air Force. It was divided into a number of different Filling Groups which occupied different areas of the site. It is believed to have had 619 buildings.
In World War II it produced light gun ammunition, medium gun ammunition, heavy ammunition, land mines and trench mortar ammunition for the Army; medium and large bombs for the RAF; and, 20 mm and other small arms ammunition for all three services. Some of these were produced in quantities measured in millions and hundreds of millions of items.
ROF Thorp Arch closed twice; once after World War II and then finally after the Korean War, in April 1958, as a result of the 1957 Defence White Paper.
The ROF site has been described in detail in two articles by Mike Christensen, illustrated with official photographs taken whilst it was still open.
Part of the site is now in use as the Thorp Arch Trading Estate; other parts are used to house the Northern Reading Room, Northern Listening Service and Document Supply Centre of the British Library; and another part is a prison, originally HMP Thorp Arch, now HMP Wealstun.
Famous quotes containing the words thorpe and/or arch:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.”
—Jeremy Thorpe (b. 1929)
“Dark accurate plunger down the successive knell
Of arch on arch, where ogives burst a red
Reverberance of hail upon the dead
Thunder like an exploding crucible!”
—Allen Tate (18991979)