Incorporation Expense Magazines ...
The three embanked bays beside each Incorporation House (map survey : Narrow Milling House - NMH), with their square of
gritless asphalt and fragmentary wall sheeting, presented an obvious puzzle. The position made it clear that each bay served
up to four of the rooms in the Incorporation House, presumably for storage. When it was realised that the NMH were in fact
Incorporation Houses, where the Modified Ballistite Paste from 'Wet Mix' at the Burette Houses was mixed thoroughly with additives
into Cordite Dough, the bays had to be either for raw paste or the finished Cordite Dough.
The term 'Ballistite' technically refers to a mix of 10% camphor, 45% nitroglycerine and 45% nitrocellulose, invented
by Alfred Nobel. The term is in generic use for the gelatinised mix of modified Blasting Gelatine consisting of
Nitroglycerine, Guncotton and acetone, before milling (incorporation and pressing) into finished Cordite MD or Cordite N.
In view of their location, it seemed best to the writer to term the buildings 'Incorporation Expense Magazines', in keeping
with terminology used at an explosive works at Carsegowan. Any reader with a convincing technical argument for an
alternative interpretation or title will be welcome to e-mail their comments.
Archaeological Evidence for the Embanked Bay Structures / Incorporation Expense Magazines :
Map analysis provided minimal information, in fact the maps failed to show the bays correctly in Unit 2 (Edingham)
and only three of the nine bays in Unit 2 survive. It is presumed that the buildings were demolished during the process of
site decontamination when the factory was decommissioned in 1945. Onsite examination identified a total of nine bays beside
the three Incorporation Houses in Unit 1 (Southwick), all in surprisingly good condition. A typical group of three bays was
served by a spur of the Narrow Gauge bogie railway, with unloading paths from the kerb running to the presumed 'front'
entrance of each Incorporation Expense Magazine. The position of the 'back' exit to the Incorporation House is uncertain,
but the angled passages (which prevent accidental explosions blasting straight into the Incorporation House verandas)
approach the back wall of the magazine near a corner. Excavation would be needed to reveal the exact site of the exit and
any wall-plate or sill-beam.
The magazines were built using panels of corrugated asbestos cement fastened to a framework, the whole being externally
bolted down to a concrete wall-plate. The roofs were also probably of asbestos cement and the doors may have been
louvered to provide ventilation for fumes. It is guessed that the Modified Ballistite arrived from 'Wet Mix' (Burette Houses)
in canvas sacks lined with a waterproof material such as rubber or gutta-percha, plastic not being available at that date.
The alternative is zinc-lined boxes or cases, but sacks or bags were certainly used for later transport at Ardeer from
Incorporation to Press Houses.
All three sets of embayments survive in Unit 1. Those in Unit 2, going from the south,
are respectively levelled (with other milling structures), present and replaced by a silage store.
Incorporation Expense Magazines and Wildlife :
The writer was astonished to find that the embayments of the Expense Magazines were havens for plants, birds and animals,
with bushes of Elder, Gorse, Broom and Hawthorn, flowers such as Cornflower, Tormentil and Speedwell, with various birds,
butterflies, ants, other insects and at least one Sand Lizard. Field Mice and Field Vole appear to be present, and there
are numerous rabbit burrows. This explains the Incorporation Houses' popularity as a bird roost for seed eaters such as
Rock Dove and Owls and Buzzards that predate small mammals.