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On 1st September 1951 an Agency Factory was formally opened on the site of a wartime munitions factory located at Summerfield which lies on the outskirts of Kidderminster in Worcestershire. This new factory, operated by ICI on behalf of the Ministry of Supply, would carry out the research and development of rocket motors using Cast Double Base solid propellant which had been developed in the USA. The factory’s official opening was actually on 1st January 1952, which means that the factory has now been in continuous operation for 60 years. During this period its ownership and title have changed several times, as the following time-line illustrates.

time line

Between 1998 and 2003 there were some variants on the title. Roxel was the title adopted when BAe merged with the French firm of Celerg.

Over the years the scope of work done at Summerfield has expanded and its reputation as a world leader in solid propellant technology has become established. It has provided employment for many local people over its 60 years existence and in the late 1990s had an influx of personnel from RPE Westcott and Waltham Abbey, two Government establishments which had closed. In 1989 the owners decided to no longer hold an annual dinner for the growing number of IMI pensioners. Therefore some senior staff members decided to create an independent group which adopted the acronym of SOBS.






The title is self-explanatory- Those who have worked at Summerfield, at whatever time in its existence, are welcome to join together in the friendly atmosphere of some Worcestershire hostelry and reminisce about old times and how they are currently coping with everyday life.

Over the years a regular pattern has emerged in that meetings are held every two months starting on the first Tuesday of the second month of the year with a different venue chosen each time. In December the normal meeting is replaced by a Christmas Lunch when spouses are invited and which may not be held on the first Tuesday due to booking problems.

The average attendance at each meeting has been around 14 and it has a duration of about two hours during which time sandwiches and drinks are available. To cover the cost members pay into a common pool.

It should be emphasised that the term ‘Meeting’ in no way implies that this is formal, it is far from that - no more that a chance for a chat with old colleagues in pleasant, convivial surroundings.

The dates of meetings and venues for 2016 are as follows:-

2 February @ The Running Horse, Bewdley, Worcestershire

5 April @ The Dog, Harvington, Worcestershire

6 June @ The Lenchford Hotel, Shrawley, Worcestershire

2 August @ The Bell, Pensax, Worcestershire

4 October @ The Wagon Wheel, Grimley, Worcestershire

? December Xmas Meal (TBA)

Starting time 12 noon

For further details please contact either of the following:-

Mr. R.D. Guest 7, Woodlawn Grove, Kingswinford, West Midlands DY6 9QE
Telephone No. 01384 274289

Mr. Brian Lawrence
Telephone No. 01562 515752

Established in 1951

First Manager:- StJohn de Holt Elstub

Operated by ICI (Metals Division) on behalf of the Ministry of Supply

Location:- Summerfield, on the outskirts of Kidderminster, Worcestershire

Product:- Solid propellant rocket motors for guided missiles

Staff:- Majority of senior staff recruited from within ICI
Explosive experts from ICI Nobel Division
Payroll:- Mainly local workforce
Later Managers:- Dr.G.P.Sillitto Cdr. F.C.Morgan Mr. H.M. Darwell

Some missile projects motors developed and supplied for:-
Vigilant: Swingfire: Milan: Rapier: Thunderbird: Seacat: Seaslug: Seadart Seawolf: Sea Skua

Sales to foreign countries:- Australia: Egypt: Sweden: Switzerland: USA:

2003 Summerfield began trading as ROXEL (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd.