War's opportunity: The National Filling Factory at Sumner Street

Military demands changed family lives

War affected families in many different ways. It created separations and anxieties, deepened emotional bonds as well as testing them. No family was untouched by war. Whether it was losing a love one (either permanently or temporarily) to military service, or trying to feed children during the shortages of 1917-1918, most families found war tough. However, some also found that war also brought with it opportunity: workers for the national war effort brought in steady and high incomes, and some families could find they were better off than before. A National Filling Factory was established here, in Sumner Street, in 1915 - an existing warehouse was extended and converted. Its employees filled shells with TNT and manufactured fuses. They would have been drawn from the many working families in Southwark.