The RSA Story: Key Dates

Key dates of the Royal Small Arms factory:

1816

 

Royal Armory Mills (later RSAF) opens at Enfield Lock.

1856

 

The building of the large machine room was completed. This enabled American mass production machinery to be installed.

1857

 

The first factory in Britain to manufacture weapons with interchangeable parts - using their innovative mass production systems.

1861

 

The American Civil War began. The factory supplied large quantities of the Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle to the armies of both the North and South.)

1895

 

The famous Lee-Enfield Magazine Rifle MK1 is first produced.

1914

 

The First World War is declared. Women workers are taken on at Enfield Lock for the first time.

1939

 

During World War II, the Bren, Sten, Hispano and Canon were made in vast numbers.

1950

 

The Korea war returns the RSAF to large scale weapons manufacture.

1987

 

The closure of the RSAF is announced.

1995

 

After many attempts to find an alternative use for this Grade II listed building, a feasibility study is commissioned and a group of local businessmen take on the task of regenerating the old factory as the the village centre for the new community being created at Enfield Island Village (the new name for the old factory site).

1997

 

Prime funding from European Regional Development Fund agreed. This enables commercial funding from Allied Irish Bank plc and English Partnership (now LDA) to be obtained.

1998

 

Refurbishment commenced by Mansell plc.

2001

 

The Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron, officially opens the RSA Island Centre.
The Doctor's Surgery, Supermarket, Gym and Community Hall are all opened
The Clock Tower is restored.
The Interpretation Centre opens.
Youth Club opened by Steve Chalke of OASIS.

 2002

 

The residential tenants move in.

 2006

 

A fire destroys the homes created in part of the old factory.

 2007

 

The Splash Day Care nursery opens.
The homes destroyed by the fire are rebuilt and tenants move back in.

 2008

 

The RSA Island Centre is a thriving Village Centre with a doctor's surgery, pharmacy, youth club, community hall, nursery, gym and library. There are a number of retail shops including a Tesco Express, and many small businesses are based in the Island Centre. 

Back to top of page 

 

King George IV and Bren 
King George IV & Bren

 
 Below: Gun Stock Turning Machine

 WW1 Lewis Gun Assembly
WW1 Lewis Gun Assembly 

Gary Walker & Nick Gavron  (2001)
Gary Walker & Nicky Gavron (2001)