Sunday 28th April 2019 is International Workers Memorial Day.
Last year we planted an oak tree and plaque to commemorate those killed as a result of an explosion at Rainham Chemical Works, Ferry Lane in 1916. The incident claimed the lives of seven men and wasn’t reported at the time because the factory was making munitions for the war effort.
The Barking, Dagenham & Havering TUC are now looking to fund a permanent memorial stone to ensure that these men and this tragic event are remembered as part of our local history in Rainham.
The memorial stone will be established on the green outside Rainham Library.
What happened in 1916?
September 14th 1916, a fire broke out in the factory. Several large explosions caused considerable damage to nearby factories and buildings. Those living close by escaped in boats on the river and workers in the factory were evacuated. Bravely, Romford firefighters rescued many women from the blazing fires. A great number of residents and workers suffered varying degrees of injury, and seven men lost their lives in the fire. Sadder still, is that none of these men or this tragic event are commemorated locally.
An initial report blamed one of the workers for the fire, however, the report sent to Winston Churchill stated that no workers were to blame. Clearly the factory was not safe.
We need your support.
As the Rainham War Memorial was similarly funded by local donations almost 100 years ago, we thought it appropriate that Rainham's residents should once more be given the opportunity to help fund a memorial alongside a number of local Trade Union organisations.
The cost of the memorial stone, which is being made by a company in Suffolk, will cost £940 so any donations, large or small, will be gratefully received. We are aiming for £1000 to cover crowdfunder transaction fees.
If successful we will hope to hold an official ceremony on Sunday 28th April to unveil the memorial on the green outside Rainham Library.