National Shell Factories – Barnsley No.1 & No.2

The Workers pictured at Barnsley NSF No.2, c. 1918

Facility Type & Function:

National Shell Factories (N.F.F.) – NSF Barnsley No.1 manufacture of 4.5″ High Explosive (HE) shells while NSF Barnsley No.2  manufactured 6 ” HE shells

Brief History:

There were two separate NSFs in Barnsley. Both were both operated by the Barnsley Board of Munitions Management.

The first factory was opened in January 1916 in what appears to have been a new facility known initially as Messrs. Gillott’s New Factory and later the Dominion Works. It was located in Johnson Street (at the south end of Hilton Street). The second factory did not come into operation until November of 1917. It was located in a disused weaving shed in Sackville Street and became known as Hope Works.

Comparatively speaking the Barnsley NSF works were not large. In 1918 they employed 150 men and 450 women.

Following the end of the war, with permission from the Ministry of Munitions, the Hope Works was sold at auction as a “going concern” for the value of £14,000. The new works was registered as the Barnsley Canister and Engineering Co. Ltd and opened its doors on 22 May 1919. At the time the company expected to employ 150 employees and agreed that 80% of these would be women to ensure the female workforce from the munitions factory were kept in work.

The premises of the Barnsley Canister Co. Ltd, and former Hope Works (i.e. home of NSF Barnley No.2) during its demolition. Circa late  1990s.

Location Details:

Johnson Street & Sackville Street, Barnsley, Yorkshire, England – National Factory Area No.3

Associated Token, Check & Pass Issues:

Type I

Function: Unknown (Notes 1 & 2)

Material: Brass

Design: Uniface with a plain edge. Pierced for suspension.

Shape & Size: Circular, 30.7 mm diameter.

Obverse: Raised legend around upper edge reads NATIONAL SHELL FACTORY and around bottom . BARNSLEY . all within an outer beaded and inner circular borders. In upper field No. and below the incuse stamped number 85 above a raised dotted line.

Reverse:  Blank

Date: 1916 to 1918

Maker: Unknown

Published References:  Unknown


  1. Possibly a worker’s time or pay collection check or works identification pass.
  2. The legend on this check does not indicate at which of Barnsley’s two NSFs its use was intended. However, it may be argued that it belongs to NSF Barnsley No.1 and was issued prior to the opening of NSF Barnsley No.2 in November 1917. Prior to this date there would have been no need for such checks to distinguish which works they belong to there was on one in operation, i.e. that located at the Dominion Works.



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