Gravity, supported by the South West Heritage Trust and Somerset Film, recently hosted an event to conclude a successful heritage project begun in 2019.
The event was held on 5 December at the 37 Club and was attended by more than 70 people, including local historians, members of the community, and former employees of the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF37). Together they were able to discuss and celebrate their shared memories of the site.
The South West Heritage Trust described the site’s timeline up to modern times, bringing to life its heritage and the innovation and camaraderie that were at the heart of working life there.
There was a short talk about archival and other material that has been collected as part of the project, including a range of artefacts and memorabilia. Paul Comerford, a former employee, gave an insightful talk based on his book All Roads Lead to ROF. A highlight of the event was the first showing of a short film about ROF37, originally commissioned by Sedgemoor District Council (now Somerset Council).
Gravity’s Director – Planning & Economic Development, Claire Pearce, commented on the event: “We want to celebrate the rich industrial heritage of the site, and community events such as this are very important to so many people. The South West Heritage Trust has helped preserve the stories and the spirit of ROF37 and its key role in fostering industrial innovation. We’re excited that Gravity will be continuing that tradition by hosting a new generation of future-facing industries.”
She added: “Gravity extends its heartfelt thanks to all those who attended for their enthusiasm and their contributions. We’re especially grateful to the South West Heritage Trust and Somerset Film for their invaluable support in making the event such a success.“
Bob Croft, Head of Historic Environment and Estates for the Trust, said: “We were very pleased to work with Gravity and the local community in helping to record some of the stories of ROF37. The material we’ve gathered during the project will be safely preserved as part of the Somerset Archive collections and will be available for future generations to consult”
The curating and cataloguing of the South West Heritage Trust’s archive have not yet finished. The Trust would welcome help from any former Royal Ordnance Factory 37 employee who can contribute their knowledge to the process. If you, or someone you know, may have information or further stories to share, please contact the Trust at email@example.com.
- Click here to view the archive catalogue for the Royal Ordnance Factory 37.
- Click here to view the ROF37 film.
Gravity will be the UK’s first commercial smart campus and a blueprint for a ‘cleaner’, smarter future. It aims to attract the world’s most innovative companies working in the ‘clean growth’ sectors.
Expected to create up to 7,500 jobs, the 616-acre Enterprise Zone will be designed to shape connections between people and the places they work, supporting a culture of innovation and wellbeing. It will include diverse, flexible workspaces and resilient technologies along with enhanced transport links to, and within, the surrounding area.
About South West Heritage Trust
The South West Heritage Trust is an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. As well as the widely-praised Museum of Somerset and the redeveloped Somerset Rural Life Museum, in Glastonbury, the Trust manages state-of-the-art facilities in Taunton and Exeter to care for the extraordinary archive collections of the two counties. The Trust also provides essential advice about the historic environment and manages historic sites. Visit swheritage.org.uk