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On 22nd May, members and friends enjoyed a coach trip to Waltham Abbey, an Essex market town and home of the Royal Gunpowder Mills. The morning passed very agreeably in exploring the Abbey Church, a fine Norman building, strolling round the market in a square surrounded by many timber framed buildings, visiting the museum and lunching in one of the historic pubs. We also discovered the line of the Greenwich Meridian 0 longitude that runs through the town.

In the afternoon, a short coach ride took us to the Royal Gunpowder Mills. Our visit began with a short film explaining the 300 year history of the site. Next we took the land train tour round the 175 acres of parkland which houses the remains of the original buildings involved in the manufacture of explosives, all connected by five miles of navigational waterways. Since the gunpowder mills closed in 1991 the parkland has become a site of Special Scientific Interest. Trying to spot kingfishers, herons, deer and rabbits added another dimension to our historical tour.

To round off the afternoon we enjoyed a re-enactment of an attack by Parliamentarians on a group of Royalists that mainly consisted of a series of very loud bangs from the cannons. The display was carried out by the English Civil War Society. There were static displays of the artifacts used during that period with explanations from the female members of the ECWS who were also dressed in period costume.

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