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Report - ICI Nobel Ardeer, Ayrshire - The Good Stuff - June 2009

Discussion in 'Noteworthy Reports' started by BenCooper, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. BenCooper

    BenCooper Mr Boombastic
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    I won't go into the history of Ardeer - once the world's largest explosives factory - again, as I covered it in my previous reports. Previously, I just skirted the borders of this huge (and still partly live) site, yesterday I ventured to the heart...

    First to the very overgrown Gunpowder Section, and in a concrete incorporating mill in the woods I found three edge mills:

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    Edge runner mills were only used for gunpowder which wasn't made seriously after WW1, so they're pretty rare - the Waltham Abbey museum only has a replica, so to find three mint ones is remarkable.

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    The mills were driven from below - the motors are mostly gone, and frogs swim in the pools:

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    Next on to the derelict power plant, which provided steam and electricity to the entire site:

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    The control room is a bit small and skanky:

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    Another big Hopkinson gauge, just like the one at Carrongrove:

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    Now on through the woods, and fighting through acres of spiky gorse, to a detonator test building - I think this one went off a bit too violently...

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    A building with water-cooled storage cylinders - not sure what this is for:

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    Then this machine - I think it was for some kind of drying as it had heaters and a gas supply:

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    Onto the testing laboratories - this is like a wee street, with each building containing a different testing machine:

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    On the far right, you can see a large test mortar - this faced a set of rails which probably had a moving target:

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    In the middle black-painted metal building, another test mortar:

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    Next building along, and some high-speed plate cameras for capturing explosions:

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    The bigger building at the end faces a test area, viewed through a blast wall with viewing slits:

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    This building had a bunch of offices with stacks of plans (mostly for high-speed cameras it seems), and shelves and shelves of plates from the cameras.

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    There were also some test samples:

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    Finally, onto a lead casting workshop:

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    As usual, there's lots more on all my Ardeer visits in my Flickr set...
     

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  2. BenCooper

    BenCooper Mr Boombastic
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    There are several test buildings with the slit windows - from memory, the camera and power supply are in a room next to one of the smaller test rooms, so they've been moved a little bit, but not much. The smaller test buildings are self-contained - the explosive is tested in a reinforced room - but the largest has a long corridor of viewing slits that look out onto an open area:

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  3. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    Great pictures.

    The Edge Mills at Waltham Abbey were water driven, as was most machinery on site, and remnants remain on site as well as several milling stones. You are correct in saying that the one in the museum is a replica.


    Heres what the Royal Gunpowder Mills version at Waltham Abbey looked like:

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder#CITEREFCocroft2000

     
    #3 Ordnance, Jul 25, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  4. BenCooper

    BenCooper Mr Boombastic
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    Aye, Dangerous Energy also has some pictures of the Ardeer mill in use and an engineering drawing, all from RCAHMS. I emailed Waltham Abbey to tell them about the Ardeer mills, but they haven't replied.
     
  5. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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  6. BenCooper

    BenCooper Mr Boombastic
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    Some more from another potter about last weekend - this is Africa House, it was the South African pavilion at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition, moved to Ardeer to be used for offices, but now a gutted wreck:

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    A large storage building, with nothing of interest inside:

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    Test bays behind a blast wall:

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    A battery detonator:

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    A high-speed rotating-mirror camera:

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    Health and safety goes a bit far:

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    Another set of labs:

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    And a sales room with some target samples and display boards:

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