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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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Goods Yard Station and Stores :-

Key Points :-

  • Unit 1 : Between Station Office and Acid Plant. Four single storey buildings and platform complete.
    Unit 2 : Between Station Office and Boiler House. Outer walls and platform survive.
  • Unit 1 buildings as follows, northeast to southwest :-
    • One single-chamber structure with doors to the Platform and the Road. Storage or waiting area ?
    • Northeastern store building has an internal office with reception hatch in one chamber. Two other chambers (both with goods doors to platform and road), one with industrial wood-block floor.
    • Southwestern store building has two main chambers with road and platform access around three minor chambers, one only opening onto the platform.
    • Station Office to southwest has several rooms but only a roadside pedestrian entrance.
  • All buildings fitted with pipe supports, probably for steam heating.
  • Similar buildings existed in Unit 2 but only the platformside walls and platform remain.

Goods Yard Station and Stores :

These buildings in the Unit 1 Central Services Platform Group are between the are fairly extensive but give away little indication of their purpose. David Ferguson and George Nicholson both referred to them as stores, but with no other qualification. In view of Nicholson's interest in the adjacent Acid Plant, it seems that the stores had no connection with his work. By elimination, these buildings have to be for the minor stores required, although there may have been a dedicated building to store drums of glycerine and oil needed in the Nitroglycerine process.

Across the road from these buildings there is a two-storey structure with a first floor doorway and hoist and a series of tank bases. This may be the Glycerine Store and is examined on that page. Just southwest of it is a small one-storey building with two windows, one looking out on the road, possibly a weighbridge or similar, although excavation would be needed to prove this.

The platform wall of the Unit 2 example also survives, but the remaining structure has been replaced by storage areas formerly for Stelrad and now for Milk Link.

Archaeological Details of the Unit 1 Goods Yard Stores :

Because so little survives in Unit 2, except for some external walls, the detail was taken from Unit 1. They are located in the Platformside section of the Central Services area between the Guncotton Unloading Station and the Acid Plant. :-

  • One single-chamber structure with doors to the Platform and the Road. Concrete floored, standard lighting, reinforced glass window lights below roof level. Designed to accommodate either small goods or staff incoming or going out, if factory related, or has a railway function.
  • Northeastern store building has an internal office with reception hatch by the roadside pedestrian door to the front chamber; this is the kind of layout appropriate either to a small parcels office or a minor railway passenger ticket office. The other two chambers were both built with goods doors to platform and road, the chamber at the southwest end having the remains of an industrial wood-block floor. The middle chamber's platform entry was bricked yup with concrete blocks of a much later date, possibly post-1960s, when Stelrad owned the site. By elimination, the middle and concrete-floored chamber was for boxes or sacks of a non-explosive nature and the southwest chamber was most suitable for unloading drums, of the kind needed for oils, glycerine, soda and vaseline. Between this building and the other to the southwest are three areas surrounded by low walls, most suited to coal stores or drum storage that does not require weather protection.
  • Southwestern store building has two main chambers with road and platform access, either side of a row of three minor chambers, one opening onto the platform, the other two only opening into each other and the two large chambers. The northeastern large chamber has a two-cubicle toilet in it next to a room with what appears to be a stove's chimney. The southwestern large chamber may have been used as a workshop.
  • Station Office to southwest has several rooms but only a roadside pedestrian entrance. Its four main rooms around a passage and toiulets would be appropriate for the suggested function. There is an excellent example of a Fire Point in the hallway.

Interpretation of the Four Goods Yard Station and Stores Buildings

Each building is a single storey brick-built structure with a 150 mm. concrete roof sealed with composition tarred felt. None of these four buildings have the externally-accessed safety lighting found in other onsite buildings used to handle or process inflammable/explosive materials. In appearance the two larger buildings strongly resemble garages or workshops and may have been used as such at a later date.

The store building to the northeast has three chambers and a most unusual wood block floor, a hard wearing surface that would prevent damage to metal drums, cases or machines set down upon it. There is a sliding door out onto the platform (this survives in Unit 2) directly opposite the large vehicle-wide road entrance. The walls are whitewashed brick with wired safety glass in the wion dows set just under the roof.

The store building to the southwest of the other has two main chambers, one subdivided by an L-shaped partition to provide a reception area accessed from the road entrance. Further in that chamber is fitted with a hearth that may have been for a fireplace or a smithy. The other main chamber is similar to the other building but without a wood block floor. There are three small external coal bunkers or drum stores against the outside of the southeast wall of this building.

The third building (the closest to the Acid Plant) again looks like a small workshop or office. The writer has not been able to explain its function, but it may be some part of the Acid Plant or be connected with the Engine Shed and Workshop just across the Goods Yard. Outside this building on the platform is a heavy sheet metal object that may be part of a signal gantry.

Possible Interpretations of the Stores Buildings :

By elimination, only a handful of possible functions remain :-


Station Office - or was it a Shower Block ? :

The building tentatively identified as the Station Office has four main rooms, each with a granolithic paved floor that curves up the walls at skirting level. Outside there is a small boilerhouse, which may have had a steam-injection boiler or a standard coal-fired boiler. The floors and the boiler argue strongly for some kind of hot water function beyond building heating, as most buildings (including stores buildings) have brackets for steam lines. All the Goods Yard buildings are so equipped. The floors bear no signs of any drains or similar outlets for shower water, so unless these were filled in, the writer has to remain with the identification of the building as the Station Office.






© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.