The Factory Canteens in M/S Factory Dalbeattie :
Like all major wartime industrial sites, the MS Factory Dalbeattie had to provide washing, changing,
meals and refreshment facilities, for the duty shifts. Separate Canteens were provided on the
first floor of blocks adjacent to each Unit's railway station, for the factory staff.
Administrative staff - who were housed outside the security perimeter - had their own much
smaller canteen facility adjacent to their office buildings. Although this third facility has
long gone, the staff Canteens for Unit 2 (Edingham) and Unit 1 (Southwick) still survive.
Staff Canteen Unit 1 (Southwick) :
This was badly vandalised by the time it was inspected in late May 2006, the writer having
to climb staircases choked with rubble to reach the canteen at first floor level. The southwest
end of the Canteen level had the Canteen kitchen to the left and on the right the remains of
two mens' toilet areas - a six-booth toilet with urinal and a one-booth toilet with urinal,
very obviously for workmen and foremen. Beyond the large open-plan Canteen area, lit on each
side by windows and with lugs for supporting central heating pipes and radiators, there was a
small refreshments kitchen area to the left and a ladies' six-booth toilet with a single multi-tank
flushing tank. The ceramic bowls of the toilets and washbasins were either smashed or gone.
One unusual feature in construction had made the vandals' task easier; the partition walls were
made from moulded multichamber building tiles rather than bricks, faced with plaster. This had been
presumably done to give a lighter construction and so spare the foundations.
The ground floor of the Unit 1 Canteen is currently an open-plan area with access through a goods
and a staff doorway. This floor was cleared for use as radiator storage by Stelrad's, with only a
toilet area and the boiler house remaining. Adam Barber of Dupont Teijin Dumfries (formerly ICI
Drungans) recalled that there had been a north and south Canteen in Drungans, the lower floor in each
Canteen block being used as locker rooms, clothes storage and possibly as a laundry.
Staff Canteen Unit 2 (Edingham) :
This became part of the administrative wing of the Stelrad factory after 1960 and has been
extensively altered since then, but remains in good condition. The ground floor was converted
to office space and a small canteen, a small wing added for the reception used by Milk Link. A visit to the
site was made on 13th July 2006, to establish what traces remain of the original design. It was established
that the old canteen lower floor had been subdivided into conference rooms and a small snack bar, with a
similar arrangement on the first floor.
Staff Use of the Canteen :
All staff used the Canteen at the beginning of the shift to change into work clothes, with a fresh issue of laundered
clothes at least once weekly. At the beginning and end of the shift - and during mid-shift breaks - staff could use the
Canteen proper for either light snacks or a cooked meal. Mr. Nicholson, manager of the Acid Plant, referred to staff
having a 'Spray Bath' at the end of their shift. Whilst the canteen would have been a logical location for this, the only
known spray baths (shower units) were the Decontamination Unit spray baths in the Fire Station, near the Canteen. The
other possibility is the building tentatively identified as the Station Office, which for various reasons might have been
a shower block with toilets and separate changing rooms.