Chaul End factory plans put to Council

Luton Town Council was still insisting on going through the formalities of giving permission for a George Kent factory to fill fuses and detonators with high explosives near Chaul End crossing.

George Kent munitions girlsThe Council's General Purposes Committee had said they had no objection to the site of the factory, but did not feel able to authorise the erection of it until the plans had been approved by the Home Office and it was known what was proposed.

On February 11th, 1915, The Luton News printed a public notice dated February 4th under the Explosives Act 1875 saying the Council would consider the George Kent application at its meeting on March 16th and inviting any objections by March 9th.Kents advertisement

The notice, bearing the name of Kent's Managing Director, Walter Kent, pointed out that the Secretary of State had approved the draft licence and given Kent's permission to apply to the Town Council for its assent under the Explosives Act for the establishment of the Chaul End factory.

The Luton News report of the March Council meeting made no mention of the Explosives Act application, or of any objections to it - suggesting there were none as Chaul End was a fairly remote location but served by a railway.

The Council in March seemed more concerned about the financial implications of providing an electricity supply to the site and the question of wayleave for cables over Crawley Trustees land.

The Electrical Engineer stated that it would be possible (subject to approval by the Board of Trade) to give a temporary electrical supply by means of overhead wires at a cost of £160 (a large part of the material being usable for other purposes should the supply be discontinued) and that he understood the Crawley Trustees would grant a wayleave over their land for 12 months certain or for the period of the war. He suggested the supply be provided, provided George Kent Ltd paid the usual charges for electricity used and a proportion of the cost of cabling.

In the case of cables, the suggested charge should be £80 for 12 months or less, £70 for 12 to 18 months, £60 for 18 to 24 months and £30 over 24 months but not exceeding 30 months. If the supply was taken for more than 30 months, the charge would be considered at a later date as that would depend on wayleave being continued.

The Electricity and Tramways Committee had recommended that the supply be provided on the above terms, subject to the Crawley Trustees granting the required wayleave, and to the Board of Trade approving the supply by overhead wires.

Alderman Wilkinson said the committee were certain that the supply to Chaul End would provide a profit commensurate with other undertakings of a similar character.


[Sources: The Luton News, February 11th and March 18th, 1915.]


Story of the George Kent factory: .