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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 ~
~ Buildings and Functions ~ Manufacture of Cordite ~
~ The Workforce ~ Graffiti and Poems ~
~ Wildlife ~ Sources ~ Links to Other Sites ~
~ Roll of Honour - 247 Names by 24/06/2009

Website Index, Introduction and News :

Key Points :-

  • Ministry of Supply agency factory run by ICI Nobel 1939-1945.
  • Royal Navy Armaments Depot Dalbeattie 1946-1960
  • Stelrad Factory 1963-1999, Edingham Industrial Estate 1963 onwards.
  • Remains of Factory cover three quarters of a square mile.
  • 3,000 workers, over 2,000 of them women.
  • Restricted guided access on request.
  • Website being gradually expanded as information becomes available.
  • Objective to preserve the details of the works, its processes and the recollections of staff as fully as is possible.
  • Extensive remains of the Factory buildings, magazines, defensive works and railway stations.
  • Surviving site scheduled by Historic Scotland.

Ministry of Supply Factory, Dalbeattie - Interior of Nitration Hill, Unit 2 (Edingham)
Interior of Nitration Hill - Schmid Nitrator Mounting

Website News :

(1) : Most of Buildings and Functions section now complete, other sections being completed.
(2) : Former staff or their surviving relatives are requested to contact the writer to compile an on-line Roll of Honor for construction workers, M/S Dalbeattie munitions workers and RNAD Dalbeattie staff.
(3) : The writer's work has been informally recognised by the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments for Scotland (RCAHMS) who are recording some details of the site, notably the wartime and postwar graffiti.
(4) : The Galloway News published an article on 23/11/2006 to further publicise the search for former staff and their families.
(5) : 29th September 2007 : 3 Guided Tours held - total of 134 people.
(6) : Regrettably, Open Day in 2008 not possible due to Army training considerations, but some visiting research carried out. Mr. Christopher Edkins, railway enthusiast, identified ground frame / small signalbox footings beside track 100 yards west of Southwick Halt track crossing and identified the pre-war substation beside the Unit 1 Southwick goods yard.
(7) : Dalbeattie Museum Trust evening meeting at Craignair Church Hall. Displays on Factory and Roll of Honour prepared and half-hour talk given.

In Memoriam : The writer regrets having to report the death of Mr. Gordon Nicholson, the Acid Plant Manager in Unit 1 (Southwick) in 1940 - 1943. Gordon Nicholson died on 8th October 2006 from cancer and was cremated at Dumfries. The Acid Plant pages are dedicated to his memory. His widow Margaret died from a stroke 4th November 2006 after the funeral. Respects are sent to his family, in particular to his daughters Sandra Cook and Sheila Dennis and to his son-in-law Graham Cook.

Site Aims and Objectives ...

The extensive ruin of the ICI cordite works at Edingham near Dalbeattie is the largest historical feature of the town of Dalbeattie, but less is known about it than any other part of the town's history. This website is intended to provide the following :-

  • A history of the works checked against available sources. [Done]
  • Details of the processes involved in production at the works. [Done]
  • An archaeological interpretation of surviving structures as at August 2006. [Done]
  • A reliable plan of the site based on a walking survey of it. [O/S and RCAHMS material being considered. Cartoon Maps under construction]
  • Records of graffiti found on site and associated poetry. [Underway]
  • Memoirs of surviving staff and the relatives of others long gone. [Underway]
  • Details of sources used by Richard Edkins in researching and surveying the site. [Done]

Information Levels ...

Because this an unusual subject and this is the first site to study the Factory in depth, the website is organised in three levels :-

  1. Introductory - For visitors who want an overview of the information to understand what they are looking at. See the Bulleted List of Key Points on each page.
  2. Advanced - For visitors who wish to know rather more about the factory operations and recognise the main points of the site interpretation. Introduction paragraph and sub-headed descriptions on each page.
  3. Scientific - To learn the nature of site processes and site interpretation. This technical study may be excessive for many non-enthusiasts but some online information can be found via the Sources page. A leaflet and a book are in preparation.
Information is still being gathered so changes in content and interpretation are inevitable.

New visitors are advised to go to Virtual Tour and then to look through Buildings and Functions to understand the site. A simple plan will be added to the website as soon as possible.

Visitors to this website are invited to submit information that may help to further develop and update this site. Many of the former staff came from elsewhere in Scotland and from England, so they or their relatives will probably have a contribution to make.

Visiting The Factory :

Matthew Taylor is happy to show visitors around the cordite factory on his farm, but insists that ALL VISITORS PHONE HIM BEFORE COMING. Parts of the site contain deep excavations and structures damaged by blasting. For your own safety - and information - please call 01556 610397. Alternatively, discuss a guided tour or the site with Richard Edkins on 01556 611740 (Tel/Fax/Answerphone).

Dedication :

The Dalbeattie Factory website is dedicated to all the staff who built and operated the cordite works, in particular the technical staff and munitions workers who risked their lives and health every day providing the means to fight and defeat Adolf Hitler and his 'Third Reich'. It is also dedicated to the late Matthew Taylor Sr. and his fellow-farmers, who gave up their land to defend the country they loved.

All of this website is Copyright :

In view of the time and effort involved in collecting, compiling, analysing and presenting this information, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any text or image on this site in any form. All images and text except where directly indicated are the sole property of Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet. The only exception is where a letter on Dalbeattie Internet headed paper has been written with permission and copies of material for display have been sent direct to the user.


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Added to Dalbeattie Domain server on 24th May 2006.
last updated 12th January 2009.

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