Back to Trail Three – Dumfries to Kirkcudbright

Edingham Munitions Works

In the build up to World War 2, the British Government recognised the need to build new armaments factories. Instead of a very few, large sites as had been the case in World War 1 such as that at Eastriggs, many smaller sites were constructed. This is because by 1939 when construction of Edingham began, there was a danger of bombing from the air – a threat which did not really exist previously.

Robert McAlpine won the contract, and employed around 3000 mainly Irish workers to build the site. Part of the attraction of the site, apart from being remote from cities, was that the Dumfries to Stranraer railway ran through it, so transport of materials and the finished cordite was easily achieved.

Operated by ICI Nobel as an Agency Factory, Edingham was one of six sub-factories in south west Scotland and the Cordite produced here was sent to Ardeer in Ayrshire by rail, where ICI Nobel produced finished shells.

The site employed around 2000 men and 2000 women and was split in two, with each building being duplicated – in case of enemy attack or an explosive accident, the factory could still operate.

Edingham produced cordite throughout the war, and it is interesting to note that in conjunction with the factories at Drungans (Dumfries) and Powfoot, these three factories alone produced over a third of Britain’s cordite during the war.

At the end of the war most of the buildings were decommissioned and demolished, but the fortified stores were incorporated into Royal Navy Armaments Depot Dalbeattie, which stored explosives for the navy until the site closed for good in 1960.

Today, many buildings are visible from the roadside, but they are not considered safe so please don’t venture further.

Image credit – Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum collection


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