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ID
a57
Title
The Tinkers of Elstow.
Genre
Essay
Page Count
43
Word Count
12000
Publication Year
1946
Document Types
Organizations, Writings on Behalf of
Topics
War

Subtitled "The story of the Royal Ordnance Factory managed by J. Lyons & Company Limited for the Ministry of Supply during the World War of 1939-1945," this pamphlet was published in a limited first edition of 300 copies and a later edition, also in 1946, both editions carrying the illustrations by Randolph Schwabe. No publisher is stated, and Bates does not mention the work in his autobiography; it is unclear whether Bates wrote the work on assignment prior to his demobilization in late 1945 or subsequently as a private commission following his wartime nonfiction. Bates tells the story of the arms factory operating in Elstow from 1941 to 1945, including engineering, technical, and operational details as well as personnel, housing, safety, and health issues. While mainly focusing on how the Lyons firm ("famous for its teas, ice-cream, Swiss Rolls and hotels") successfully ran a plant that produced some 100,000 tons of bombs ("about one-seventh of the entire tonnage of bombs dropped by Bomber Command on Germany"), Bates also explores issues of community and morale; he cites the triumph of the factory as proving "the greatness of our adaptability, our tenacity, our industriousness, and our resource...the anger of the patient man...the technical genius and high intelligence of our people."