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Report (Permission Visit) - Edingham Munitions Factory, Dalbeattie, August 2021 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Edingham Munitions Factory, Dalbeattie, August 2021


Alley

Conspicuous Loiterer
Regular User
Visited Edingham Munitions Factory with @wolfism. This is a huge site with buildings dotted over acres of countryside. Sheep and cattle graze on the land. It is also used for army and police training so checking availability with the land owner is recommended. Contact details here https://www.dalbeattiematters.net/about-dalbeattie/edingham-munitions-factory. We were there all day and didn’t manage to cover everything.

HISTORY

Nobel Industries Limited was founded in 1870 by Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel for the production of the new explosive dynamite in the United Kingdom. Ardeer, on the coast at Ayrshire, was chosen for the company's first factory. The business later diversified into the production of blasting gelatine, gelignite, ballistite, guncotton, and cordite.

Construction began in 1939 of Edingham Munitions Factory (formally known as Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie and classified by Historic Environment Scotland as Dalbeattie, Royal Naval Armaments Depot, Nitro-glycerine Works).

The factory opened around 1941. It received acid and gun-cotton (cotton waste, from mills, mixed with nitroglycerin) from MoS Drungans, and produced nitroglycerine, cordite, and black powder.  The factory buildings were duplicated, to prevent production being interrupted if a key building was destroyed by an accident or air raid . Unit 1 is Southwick (north / east) and Unit 2 is Edingham (south / west).

At the end of the war most of the buildings were decommissioned and demolished, but the fortified stores were incorporated into Royal Navy Armaments Depot Dalbeattie, which stored explosives for the navy until the site closed for good in 1960.


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LOCATION

Edingham is located in a low-lying marsh, through which runs Kirkgunzeon Lane (burn), ideal for explosives production – cool and damp. There was also the now-closed Glasgow and South Western Railway (formerly Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway) line which runs through the middle. An internal tramway system linked different parts of the site.


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Compare these maps from 1956 and 1963. The factory existed at the time of the map on the left but, from its construction until long after the war, it was not marked. Note the dotted lines for the rail lines that went into the factory.

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This is the tramway bridge. Its length is due to the wide marshy area it crosses. It has concrete piers with steel decking and handrails.

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There was a small road block at the other end to control access across the bridge. There are still a few steel sleepers for the tramway rails.

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BUILDINGS

Buildings included: Acid plant, acetone plant, incorporation houses, processing houses, starting and acetone recovery houses, magazines, gun-cotton unloading and general goods station, gun-cotton expanse magazines, drying and blending houses, cordite milling, fire station, air-raid shelters, boiler house and a large canteen.


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* Pillbox
There is a six-sided type 24 pillbox situated in a field to the N of the burette houses. The pillbox stands on the perimeter fence line with the fence built on top of the structure.

* Observation tower
Eight-sided type 22 pillbox: brick and concrete observation post with viewing slits and open platform on top. In addition, hand rails surround the platform with a ladder to a small landing with a short flight of concrete steps to the viewing platform.


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* Offices
Now part of Edingham Industrial estate, a group of buildings which include a large canteen, guncotton and general goods loading stations, laboratory, and acid plant along with some office buildings. Connected to the National Railway system by standard gauge railway sidings.

* Canteen
Internal walls are made from hollow red bricks. Easy to blow holes in.


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* Acetone Recovery House

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* Processing Houses
There are two platforms with steps leading up to them each side of a square well, with doors at the back leading to a rear corridor. The steps and platforms have been coated with a rubber composition to reduce the danger from sparks.


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* Pipelines
A network of pipelines carried on concrete posts supplied acids and water.


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* Air raid shelter
There were several of these. This one had a missing hatch, barely noticeable in the long grass. A sheep’s skeleton lay at the bottom of the ladder.


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DOORS

The first ones are lined with asbestos. That’s in Unit 2, which is the closest to the road, and pretty vandalized.
The rest are increasingly (relatively) intact as you venture deeper into Unit 1, more decayed than destroyed. The soft brown powder covering every floor is decades worth of dust-dry manure.


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SAFETY

* Gatehouse
There is a gatehouse near Southwick Station with two entrances and exits, with metal turnstiles, to allow the checking of workers for any metal objects that could cause a spark –- matches, coins, watches, jewellery.

For safety, the factory used materials which would not spark, such as mastic on railway platforms instead of concrete, and wooden rails for the narrow-gauge trains. You can see broken pieces of platform surface here.


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GRAFFITI

There were lots of drawings, sums, and names written in pencil on the walls. From what I’ve seen online, we missed the more artistic stuff but it was still interesting.

John Wayne?


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NAMES

The timeless, irresistible urge to leave your mark.

D GARRAD IYE HORSEMAN 1941
D H *** Scotland ** 24th May 1954
JACKIE WAS HERE IN 23rd Oct 1956
Bob 1957
J Houston undated
MARY TERESA COLLINS undated
J SHEEPS undated
ONE O THE BEST J*CK MCQUEEN undated
David C** undated
Herbert Bell undated


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FOOTBALL TEAM – real or fantasy? The writing I could make out:

DG Athletic V St Dunstans
(Referee) Sandy MacPherson (Baldy)
Trainer Big Joe (Grumpy)
(***) Will Fyffe
Bill (The Jock ***)
Wee Willie Winkie (***)
Lou (Miller)
Hughie Nelson (St Dignt Boy)
Flamingo


I can’t find record of a team called DG Athletic. Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan's, is a large British charity, providing free support and services to vision-impaired ex-Armed Forces and National Service personnel. During the Second World War, the charity admitted those who had lost their sight through their work in the auxiliary services, women's services and munitions factories. It’s possible some of the ‘players’ were celebrities:
- Sandy MacPherson was an organist and radio host in the early 1950s.
- Will Fyffe was a music hall and performing artist, a star of the 1930s and 1940s.

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A SONG FOR JOHNNIE

Make up your own tune.

His *** was *** dentifrice
(IDLE 7**)
NOSEY JOHNNIE “



And he went for a piss
(
O4 MUGINS NO MUG
AND HE LIKES HIS MONEY
Now his girl does nowt but kiss
AND HE’S
ALWAYS ** ** *UG
HE INCLINED TO BE FUNNY
Blast his eyes


HIS EYES
“ “ soul



Bloody hell




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All in all, a fascinating glimpse into the past.
 
Last edited:

Mikeymutt

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Love that a lot. Been meaning to do this for several years coming back from Scotland. It's just like you confirmed that it's a huge site. And timing it with the police or army training that goes on there. One day though.
 

MK83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Really like this. It's great how intact it is, there aren't any left that are this intact near me. Cool photo's.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Like the mix of your shots & the info photos. Makes this a very comprehensive report. Great set, liking the intact drawings & writing.:thumb
 

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