First World War
Caton Road, Lancaster
Caton Road in Lancaster, now the A683, was the scene of much activity
during the First World War. On the mobilisation of the 5th
Battalion accommodation was needed for those Territorial Force soldiers
who did not live in Lancaster. The disused Lancaster Carriage and
Wagon Works was used to accommodate the soldiers between 12th August and
14th August 1914 when the battalion left Lancaster for Didcot in order to
guard Lines of Communication on the Great Western Railway.
Compare these photographs of the Wagon works with some in 2014, now
the site of Standfast and Barracks.
Continue down this page for more information, photographs and
links to other pages of interest on the museum's website.
When mobilised in August 1914 the 5th Battalion used the
redundant Wagon Works on Caton Road, Lancaster, as a temporary base from
12th August 1914 until they moved south to Didcot two days later.
Accession Number: KO0715/17 and KO1217/03
Group of soldiers of the 5th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster
Regiment photographed inside the former Lancaster Carriage and Wagon
Works on Caton Road, Lancaster, on around 13th August 1914.
Accession Number: KO3074/88
Interior view of the former Wagon Works used as billets by the 5th
Accession Number: KO2160/37-30
Private Harold Gordon Cooper of the 1st/5th
Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, photographed in August
1914 in the Wagon Works, Caton Road, Lancaster, used
as temporary accommodation for the newly mobilised battalion.
Accession Number: KO2412/05
The 5th Battalion leaves the temporary billets on Caton Road,
to march up to
Lancaster Castle Station where it entrained for Didcot on 14th August,
Accession Number: KO2160/37-27
Detail of KO2160/37-27
5th Battalion, King's Own marching along Caton Road, Lancaster.
Accession Number: KO1775/02 and KO1898/36 and KO2806/01
The 5th Battalion leaves the temporary billets on Caton Road to march up to
Castle Station where it entrained for Didcot on 14th August, 1914.
Whilst this image is a still 'postcard' photograph the troops passing this
point feature in a short movie film which is now available from the
Accession Number KO2490/419
Detention Barracks of Illegal Aliens and Prisoners
After the 5th Battalion left the Wagon Works it was used as Prisoner
of War Detention Barracks, or Internment Camp.
Details of the Internment Camp were published in the
Lancaster newspapers from September
A printed letter head used in December 1914 gives the address as:
"Place of Internment for Prisoners of War, Lancaster".
See more Watercolours
showing scenes in Lancaster's Internment Camp by Adolph
Ernest Jean von du Stratton in the collection of Lancaster City Museum.
This postcard of the Prisoner of War Detention Barracks, Wagon Works,
Caton Road, Lancaster, was posted to Colour Sergeant
Frederick A Haigh, number
837, of 'D' Company, 5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
at Didcot, Berkshire. It is postmarked 14th October 1914.
Accession Number: LM82.46/60
Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Officers who were guarding the
Prisoner of War Camp, Wagon Works, Caton Road, Lancaster.
Most of the soldiers are of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment,
there is a Captain in the centre, with a Lieutenant on either side.
The Lieutenant Smith of the King's Regiment is on the left of the
The rear of the postcard, which was posted on 10th June 1915, reads:
"POW Camp, Lancaster 10/6/1915.
Dear John, These are a section of the NCO's of the old Guard, also two
of my brother officers. Thought you would perhaps like to have one.
With kind regards to you Father & auntie also yourself and sister.
Yours sincerely, E Smith, Lieutenant." The card is addressed
to Master John Carter, 123 Bedford Road, Birkdale.
Lieutenant E Smith was an officer with the 5th Battalion of the King's
Liverpool Regiment, and his name is also carved on a bone in the
Accession Number: KO2917/49
The Old Wagon Works site was put up for
auction on 6th September 1916,
so the prisoner of war internment camp was certainly closed by this
The Caton Engineering Company of Lancaster
The Caton Engineering Company of Lancaster took over the old wagon
works after they had ceased being an internment camp. The company
name was a cover used to hide the fact that torpedoes were being made
there. The Whitehead Torpedo Company at Weymouth was manufacturing
torpedoes for the Royal Navy, but could not manufacture a sufficient
number for the demand. Therefore a second factory was established
in Lancaster, with the obscure name. The Caton Engineering Company
appears to have been a partnership between Whitehead and the Vickers
Company, who had interests in the two other munitions works in Lancaster
and Morecambe. as well as their works at Barrow in Furness.
The Caton Road factory was to had an initial output of ten 18 inch
diameter torpedoes a week, and this increased to twenty two by 1918.
The company was named in a debate in the House of Commons on 16th
November 1916 when the Caton Engineering Company was accused of refusing
to pay their workers the extra rate on local holidays. The
Minister of Munitions, stated that the firm had paid the higher rate on
four days, and there had been no complaints from their employees on the
The King's Own Museum collection contains two carved bones known to
have been made at the Prisoner of War Camp on Caton Road.
Lancaster City Museum's collection also contains some
carved bones from the camp.
Featuring the Regimental Lion and 'The King's Own Royal Regiment' on one
side and 'E. Smith. Lieutenant, 5th King's Liverpool Regmt. Lancaster
Camp 1914-15' on the other, the sender of the above postcard.
Accession Number: KO2590/406
This bone featuring a rose and leaves is marked '1914 Remembrance 1915'
and 'Made in POW Camp, Vieteck, 1803, Lancaster'.
Accession Number: KO2590/407
Munitions Works - National Projectile Factory
By 1916 the land between the Wagon Works and the
Lune Aqueduct and the Lancaster Canal became a munitions works, the plan
of the The National Projectile Factory, Caton Road
Lancaster does not show the wagon works site.
Aerial view of the Lansil works, with the Lancaster Power Station at the
top of the picture, and the wagon works at the bottom left, in the
1950s, showing the former site of the National Projectile Factory.
Selective enlargement of the Lansil works photograph, showing the main
gate to the National Projectile Factory during the First World War.
The bus is passing the entrance.
1917 Royal Visit to the National Projectile Factory, with the Royal
Party having just passed through the gateway which can be seen in the
1950s photograph. All of this has now been demolished and rebuilt.
This 1923 London, Midland and Scottish Railway plan shows the railway
line and workers platforms for the Munitions works. This map shows
the platform which was to the North of the wagon works site.
This 1923 London, Midland and Scottish Railway plan shows the railway
line, the end of the workers platforms (to the left) and the wagon works
in the centre. The sidings on the right are now occupied by
Alexandra Barracks and a small industrial estate.
Enlargement of the 1923 London, Midland and Scottish Railway plan in the
area of the wagon works.
See also the detailed plans from the
Auction Catalogue of 6th September
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