The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston has been at the centre of Britain's nuclear weapons production since 1950. Then called the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE), it replaced Fort Halstead where Britain's research on atomic weapons began in 1947. AWE Burghfield, where warheads are assembled, was opened at the same time.
The first atomic bomb, the "Blue Danube", tested off Australia in June 1952, was built at Aldermaston. In 1955 work started on the first thermo-nuclear or hydrogen bombs which were were tested in the Pacific, including at Christmas Island, in 1957.