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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

~ Index ~ Site History ~ Virtual Tour ~
~ Processes in the Manufacture of Cordite ~
~ Interpretation of Surviving Structures ~
~ Interactive Map ~ Defensive Works ~
~ The Workforce ~ ~ Poems and Graffiti
~ Sources ~ Links to Other Sites

Unit 1 (Southwick) Goods Yard :-

Key Facts :-

  • On siding beside Dumfries to Stranraer 'Paddy Line'.
  • Receiving station for raw materials including guncotton.
  • Despatch site for reprocessed sulphuric acid.
  • Trackside buildings largely intact but yard full of demolition rubble.
  • Layout still largely intact.
  • Excellent examples of Guncotton Unloading Station, Fire & Decontamination Station, Station Office, Workshops and Engine Shed.
  • Remains of Acetone and Acid Plants identified.
  • Some buildings unidentified and need further investigation.

Unit 1 Goods Yard at M/S Factory Dalbeattie (NGR NX851631):


The Unit 1 Goods Yard at the Southwick side of the Factory is one of its more interesting and best-preserved sections, due to its being held by Stelrad for almost thirty years as a dumping ground. Whilst the yard and some adjacent marshland is unfortunately choked with demolition rubble and scrap drums, the adjacent buildings survived to 2006 in surprisingly good order. Raw materials such as acetone, glycerine, nitrocellulose (guncotton), sulphuric and nitric acids, coal and vaseline, were unloaded here, some acid also being taken from here to Dumfries for re-processing.

In this page, the known structures are identified and links go to the more significant, such as the Acid Recovery Plant, the Guncotton Unloading Rooms, the Canteen, the Fire Station, the Boiler House, the Acetone Plant and the Engine Shed. Not all buildings were successfully identified; the two large structures between the Rail Yard and the main line, opposite the presumed Boiler House, are completely unknown. Two large storage or workshop buildings have been described but their exact function is unclear. As with so much else, there is scope for more research.

There are unfortunately several problems that risk the survival of this remarkable site. The Canteen block's first floor partitions have been seriously damaged by either vandalism or Army training, the stairways being full of rubble, and as a result are no longer safe for the unprepared visitor. The Acetone tower as originally built appears to have been strengthened by structural steelwork now removed and needs to be demolished safely. The Army's Fighting in Built Up Areas (FIBUA) training is set to continue and (unless done with due care) could easily cause terminal damage, both here and elsewhere in Unit 1.

Major Structures at Unit 1 Goods Yard :

These form three parallel lines running southwest to northeast, alongside the dismantled main railway line from Dumfries to Castle Douglas. They have been designated Railway Yard Group, Platform Group and Roadside Group. The old platform edge divides the first and second, the road being the division between the second and third group. All are listed southwest to northeast and have individual pages.

Railway Yard Group :

These stand between the three-track goods yard and the main line :-

Platform Group :

These stand back from the edge of the original goods platform :-

Roadside Group :

These stand between the road and a cutting behind the easternmost Cordite Milling buildings.

Some of the identification is provisional, based on position in relationship to known processes. Other buildings are unclear as to fittings, let alone as to function.



© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.