On Thursday 14th September, the historic Munitions Factory in Hereford opened its doors to a remarkable event that celebrated both its rich past and exciting future. The Shell Store Open House & Launch marked the unveiling of the newly renovated coworking and office space and its new operators TownSq. The £7.3million renovation was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Herefordshire Council and a loan from the Marches LEP’s Marches Investment Fund as part of a wider project at Skylon Park. This memorable event brought together history, entrepreneurship, and community in a captivating blend.
The highlight of the day was the presence of Nancy Billings, a true heroine and one of the Canary Girls who worked in the Munitions Factory during World War II. Her presence bridged the gap between the factory’s wartime history and its modern-day transformation. Nancy unveiled the brand new coworking suite aptly named the ‘Canary Suite’ with the historical not-for-profit organisation, Rotherwas Together and TownSq founders Mandy Weston and Gareth I Jones. Nancy shared her experiences and anecdotes from her time as a munitions worker, giving attendees a glimpse into the factory’s vital role during the war. Her presence was a living testament to the resilience and strength of the women who supported the war effort on the home front.
TownSq, unveiled themselves as the operators of the state-of-the-art coworking and office space, nestled within the beautifully renovated Munitions Factory. The open house provided an opportunity for attendees to explore the innovative workspace and its contemporary amenities, showcasing a perfect combination of history and modernity.
The Munitions Factory, which once played a pivotal role in wartime Britain, has been painstakingly restored to retain its original charm while providing a dynamic environment for today’s businesses – a unique space that pays homage to the past while fostering creativity and collaboration in the present.
The Shell Store Open House & Launch went beyond just celebrating the Munitions Factory’s transformation; it also offered a platform for local businesses to shine. An expo of local business owners showcased their products and services, creating an atmosphere of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.
This expo allowed attendees to engage with a diverse range of businesses, emphasising the vibrant entrepreneurial community in Hereford and provided an opportunity for networking, collaboration, and the discovery of hidden gems.
The in-house coffee shop, aptly named “The Munitions” and owned by The Coffee Cart Co., served up a delicious buffet lunch. The spread featured locally sourced ingredients and highlighted the brilliance of the locally owned coffee shop.
The event attendees enjoyed not only delicious food but also the opportunity to unwind and connect with fellow guests over lunch.
The Shell Store Open House & Launch bridged the gap between the factory’s storied past and its promising future as TownSq and The Munitions, creating a space where history, innovation, and entrepreneurship converge.
Nancy Billings’ presence reminded everyone of the factory’s historical significance, while the local business expo and buffet lunch showcased Hereford’s dynamic business community. As The Munitions Factory’s new chapter unfolds, it carries with it the spirit of the Canary Girls and the promise of a bright and prosperous future for all who gather within its walls.
Want to sign up for Shell Store’s next Open Day? Sign up here.