Please join us on Facebook

Aireborough Historical Society

Contact AHS

Aireborough Historical Society

Contact AHS
Home » Guiseley » Guiseley Events » WW2 (Guiseley) Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory Explosion – 1941

WW2 (Guiseley) Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory Explosion – 1941

Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory Undated

U07 – Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory, Undated.

Title Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory Explosion
Date c13th September 1941
Location Guiseley
Photo ID U07
Comment Please read below ….

For a brief history of Cotopa Mills pre 1939 – Click Here

The low stone building in this image was the scene of the explosion in 1941. The damaged wall was rebuilt but the building was seriously damaged by a fire on New Years Eve 1948 and a further explosion in 1950 saw the demise of the Cotopa Mills in Guiesely. New premises were obtained in Horsforth. The Mills site was later used by the Yorkshire Electricity Board and demolished to make way for a new housing scheme in 1990.

This low stone building was part of the Cotopa Mills Munitions Factory and the scene of a fatal accident in September 1941.

One of the products being made here was artificial hand grenades for use by the Home Guard, although made of clay they were filled with gun powder, five local young women were employed to do this. A plug and a fuse would be fitted which would be lit before the grenade was thrown and exploded.

The area the young women worked in was the low stone building seen here, a massive explosion believed to have been caused by friction occurred which blew one side of the building out. (it was later rebuilt) The five young women were all taken to the Leeds General Infirmary for treatment to their injuries but unfortunately four of the young women died, they were:

Miss Edith Maud Bell, aged 15, of 13 Silverdale Avenue, Guiseley. To view further details please – Click Here.

and Edith’s cousin:

Miss Dorothy (Dolly) Vernon Powell, aged 19, of 19 Otley Road, Guiseley. To view further details please – Click Here.

Mrs Elizabeth Dale, aged 24, of Restmore Avenue, Guiseley.

Mrs Rose Green, aged 21, St. Matthias Street, Burley Hill, Leeds.

Miss Constance Mary Calvert, aged 16, survived with severe injuries to her legs and hands.

It would be a fitting memorial to the four young women who died and to the young woman who survived, to have a memorial stone on the site of the incident in remembrance.

Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 07 October 2023.
Last updated: 07 October 2023.

Leave a comment