George Lovell Drive, EN3

Place Name

Named after the man credited with ensuring the success of Enfield’s former Royal Small Arms Factory. Prior to mass manufacturing weapons, the factory’s role was in assembly, repair and refurbishment as well as a testing site for muskets, swords and rifles. Following a fire at the armoury and workshops of the Tower of London on the night of October 30, 1841, the Enfield armoury grew in importance, taking on the role of quality-testing and costing weapons made by private industry. A year before the blaze, Enfield-stalwart George Lovell (1789 – 1854) had been promoted from resident store-keeper to inspector of small arms. In his thesis, The Development Of The Royal Small Arms Factory (Enfield Lock) And Its Influence Upon Mass Production Technology And Product Design C1820-C1880, James H Lewis describes Lovell’s appointment as “one of the most important single factors contributing to far reaching improvements in the manufactured quality and standardisation of British military small arms”. He not only designed and modified many weapons but also oversaw the whole production, ensuring quality at every level. And it was Lovell who oversaw the set-up of the new factory at Enfield Lock that was to adopt the American method of mass weapon production. Lovell later explained the success of his operation: “At Enfield no workman is admitted unless he be of the first-class in his trade, and of sober, moral, and regular habits. He has the assistance of the best machinery and works under the immediate eye of the viewer, who corrects any errors of work as they arise. He has a comfortable home, and receives his wages in full at a certain hour every week.”

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