Puddled Ponds at M/S Factory Dalbeattie...
Gordon Nicholson's remarkable account of the Continuous Nitration process completes the wash water disposal by discharge
onto a chute or flume into a pond lined with puddled clay, the lining being cleared out and disposed of by burning with
sawdust at intervals. The problem remains that the location of the chute and pond have not been established, either at Unit
1 or at Unit 2, but that there are some possible candidates.
Gordon Nicholson's Article - References to the Chute and Puddled Pond :
From the third tank the wash waters flow on to a stainless steel cataract and thence pass through an underground drain pipe
to an outside wooden chute and into a puddled pond.
Nitroglycerine settling out in the outside wooden chutes is drawn off every day and washed... in a soda barrel in the Wash
Water Settling House.
The pond is emptied periodically and the nitroglycerine contaminated clay is dug out, mixed with [twice its weight of]
sawdust and sent to the Burning Station.
Possible Puddled Pond Locations :
Unit 1 Puddled Ponds :
To the south of the Unit 1 Houses D1 and D2 there are a number of fairly boggy areas< surrounded by the now-collapsing remains
of Narrow Gauge bogie railway embankments (traverses). Going by the wartime air photographs, these were in fact the
puddled pond to which Nicholson refers.
The writer did consider the possibility that the Wash Water was pumped uphill from a holding pond to a
rather strange pair of rectangular ponds located between the Nitration Hills and the southernmost Unit 1 Burette Houses.
These ponds may be no more than an Emergency Water Supply to deal with fires, but they are in clay soil and could have
been used for the Wash Water disposal function. At the moment they are excellent wildlife ponds, with Willow and Flag Iris
growing in and about them.
Unit 2 Puddled Ponds :
Taking the demolished House D1 as a starting point, a traverse or causeway that led from the northeast side of House D1 round to the north
and towards the Burette Houses, ssems to mark the near edge of the Puddled Pond area. Matthew Taylor, the farm owner, has no
knowledge of any ponds on that site. An exactly similar feature was observed on aerial photographs at the long-demolished
Between House D2 and the mysterious Hill X there is a brick built pit with access to the ground drainage system. It is too
big to be an inspection chamber, but it might have some connection to the puddled pond. However, it has to be said that this
Although the Ponds were important, their locations and scale have been ambiguous, even with careful study of the aerial
photographs taken at the time. Unit 2 has offered some enclosed locations, but those at Unit 1 may need excavation and forensic
analysis to be completely certain. It is suggested that the ponds were in the areas surrounded by the traverses of the bogie railways
into the Houses D (Wash Water Settlement).