Coventry Ordnance Works

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Coventry Ordnance Works was a British manufacturer of naval artillery systems with its major site located in Coventry, Warwickshire.


The company had its roots in Mulliners Limited, a carriage building concern founded by Herbert H. Mulliner. In 1895 Mulliner started making scientific instruments, and with F. Wrigley started producing tools for the more complicated parts of ordnance. By 1902 this concern had become the ordnance producer Mulliner-Wigley. In December of that year the steel producer Cammell, soon to acquire shipbuilders Laird Brothers, formed a committee to decide whether to purchase Mulliner-Wigley, which it did in 1903 for £142,566. In 1904 the shipbuilder John Brown & Company became a partner in the concern. The aim of the concern was for Cammell Laird and Brown to arm their own warships without having to buy from their rivals, Armstong and Whitworth, Vickers and Beardmore. In 1905 the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (in which Cammell owned a share) became a co-owner of the company. At this point John Brown owned half the shares, and Cammell and Fairfield a quarter each.[1]


The company had a shell-filling establishment at Cliffe, on the River Thames near Gravesend. A proving range was located on the Wash at Freiston, near Boston.

Coventry Ordnance Works profits and losses 1910–1918:[2]

Date Profit (Loss)
1910 (£50,952)
1911 (£187,243)
1912 (£145,407)
1913 (£48,661)
1914 £58,441
1915 £221,767
1916 £253,048
1917 £188,719
1918 £137,485


Coventry Ordnance Works constructed the following 13.5-inch mountings for the Royal Navy:[3]


  1. Warren. pp. 140-143.
  2. Warren. p. 149.
  3. Hodges. The Big Gun. p. 64.


  • Warren, Kenneth (1998). Ships, Steel and Men: Cammell Laird, 1824-1993. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0853239223.