Our History



Barnbow first opened as a munitions factory. Officially known as National Filling Factory No. 1, in 1916 a massive explosion killed 35 of the women who worked there.


National Filling Factory No. 1 became the Royal Ordnance Factory, Barnbow. The Manston Lane site was completed in 1940.


Barnbow Sports & Social Club was born. Formerly the paint store, the original building was converted for the use of employees and family of the Royal Ordnance Factory.


Vickers Defence Systems finalised the purchase of the ROF site. In its prime, the factory employed over 3,000 people who were involved in the building of the Centurion, Chieftain, and the world-famous Challenger 1 and 2 armoured fighting vehicles, which were sold to Kuwait, Iran, and other countries.


Vickers Defence Systems close the Barnbow site for good and the social club is closed too. Following the tremendous efforts of its members and family, George Mudie M.P. and local councillors, the club re-opened on a short lease and small cash balance.


The site of Barnbow Munitions Factory was listed as a scheduled monument. There are two memorials to those killed, in Manston Park and on Cross Gates Road. A housing estate built on the ROF site has street names including Ethel Jackson Road, Amelia Stewart Lane, Jennie Blackamore Way, Maggie Barker Avenue, Olive Yeates Way and Ada Glassby Court as a wonderful tribute to the ladies that died in 1916.


Now we are 70! Barnbow Social Club remains a much-loved community club, providing an affordable, family-friendly social, entertainment, and function space for Crossgates and surrounding areas. Despite the disruption of the Manston Lane Link Road (MLLR) and East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR), we survive.