A FIRST World War munitions factory building discovered in the heart of Banbury is to be preserved for future generations.

National Filling Factory Number 9 was a munitions filling factory near Overthorpe that sent more than four million shells – including mustard gas – to the frontline between 1914 and 1918.

It was thought all traces of the factory had been destroyed decades ago, but one remaining building has been uncovered.

Funeral service J & M Humphris transported one of the factory’s buildings from its Albert Street site, which had previously been used as a brewery.

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Director Martin Humphris, 56, said: “My grandfather, Harold Humphris, brought the building here on wheels in the early 1920s.Over the years the building has been adapted, extended and changed on many occasions, but the existing roof, internal roof timbers, walls and windows are still visible today.

“We will definitely be preserving it, not least because it’s an integral part of our building.”

The building is now used as a store room and office space. Mr Humphris, who lives in Bodicote, said the building’s past was only discovered in the summer.

“I became aware of the building’s importance when Simon Townsend, the director of Banbury Museum, was talking to our Rotary Club. It’s very exciting and incredible. It is perhaps quite a coincidence that my grandfather served during the First World War as a sapper with The Royal Engineers in 1916.”

The factory is one of the last two still standing of the original 36 in the UK. The others have all been decommissioned and sold.

The factory’s history is now documented in an exhibition called Feeding the Front Line, at Banbury Museum.

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