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Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie -
 View of Nitration Hills, Unit 2 (Edingham)

Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie
World War II Cordite Works

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~ Processes in the Manufacture of Cordite ~
~ Interpretation of Surviving Structures ~
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~


Motor Houses :

Key Points :-

  • Located near the entrance of each Narrow Milling House (Incorporation House).
  • Accessed by gritless asphalt path.
  • Structure of brick with externally accessed safety lighting.
  • Internal pipe for industrial electric cable and heavy-duty power conduits.
  • Matching conduits on exteriors of Incorporation and Press Houses.
  • Apparent function as remote control over electrical power supplies to Incorporation and Press House. May have permitted operation when process rooms cleared of staff.
  • Five of six Motor Houses near Cordite Milling sections survive.

Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses : Motor House 2 to the left of Incorporation House 2
Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses : Motor House 2 to the left of Incorporation House 2


Motor Houses ...

In both the Incorporation Houses and the Press Houses there was heavy use of electric power to drive motors for incorporators and hydraulic presses. It is normal industrial procedure to provide dedicated high-voltage supplies to plant with high electrical consumption, so here and at such locations as the Cordite Rolling Houses the writer expected to find at least a dedicated pole transformer. In fact, the small buildings close to the Incorporation Houses all seem to be for the electrical switchgear (circuit breakers and fuse systems) and have heavy concrete bases outside them, possibly for transformers.

In various other explosive works (notably Carsegowan Black Powder Works) these control rooms are termed 'Motor Houses' so the same terminology was adopted here. The apparent function of all these buildings is to provide both emergency cut off of power supplies in the event of accidents and (in some cases) to remotely control operation of the equipment as a safety measure when the process rooms are cleared of staff.

Archaeological Evidence for the Motor Houses :

Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses : Motor House 2 showing safety light, cable riser and power conduits
Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses 2 : Motor House 2 showing safety light, cable riser and power conduits


Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses : Cut off power conduits on Press House 2
Unit 2 Cordite Milling Houses : Cut off power conduits on Press House 2

The details that follow are for Unit 2 Cordite Milling House Motor Room 2, but the Unit 1 equivalents are the same.

  • A suitable and unmapped structure was found near the easternmost of the three Incorporation Houses in Unit 1.
  • It had reinforced glass windows and an externally accessed safety light, as has been found in every other process building.
  • The structure was strongly-built brick with a concrete roof and with an acid-resistant gritless asphalt floor.
  • A two-metre wide gritless asphalt track ran from this building past the Incorporation House and the Shifting House (Changing Room) to the Press House.
  • There was an armoured high-voltage cable facing the door and an assortment of metal sheathed cable conduits, with the cut-off stubs of similar conduits in the end back passage walls of the Incorporation and Press Houses.

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© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.