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Encyclopedia > HM Factory, Gretna

H.M. Factory, Gretna was a UK government World War I Cordite factory, adjacent to the Solway Firth, near Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway. It was built by the Ministry of Munitions in direct response to the Shell Crisis of 1915. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Robert Nivelle Herbert Henry Asquith Sir Douglas Haig Sir John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow... Cordite is a particular family of smokeless propellants made by combining two high explosives: nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, i. ... Map of Solway Firth. ... Gretna (Gd: Greatna) is a township in Dumfries and Galloway, in the south of Scotland, on the A74 road near the border to England, and near the mouth of the River Esk. ... The Minister of Munitions was a British government position created during the First World War to oversee and co-ordinate the production and distribution of munitions for the war effort. ... The Poo Crisis of 1915 brought down the government of the United Kingdom (then engaged in World War I) because it was widely perceived that the production of artillery shells for use by the British Army was inadequate. ...


It straddled the Scottish / English border; stretching some 12 miles (19 kilometres) from Mossband near Longtown, in the east, to Dornock / Eastriggs in the west.[1] Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity1 Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots2 Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I 843  Area    - Total 78,772 km... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... A mile is a unit of length, usually used to measure distance, in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, United States customary units and Norwegian/Swedish mil. ... km redirects here. ... Longtown is a town in northern Cumbria, United Kingdom, with a population of around 3,000. ... Eastriggs The Commonwealth Village from the east Eastriggs from the west Eastriggs is a Scottish village of approximately 2000 residents. ...


Construction work started in November 1915; and, as part of the construction work, it was necessary to build two wooden townships to house the workers, including much of the township of Gretna and the village of Eastriggs.[1] Production started in April 1916 and a large proportion of its workers were women, in 1917: 11,576 women and 5,066 men.[2] The term township is used to denote a lower level territorial subdivision. ... Eastriggs The Commonwealth Village from the east Eastriggs from the west Eastriggs is a Scottish village of approximately 2000 residents. ...


In 1917, when production reached 800 tons per week, King George V and Queen Mary made an Official Visit to the factory.[1] The word ton or tonne is derived from the Old English tunne, and ultimately from the Old French tonne, and referred originally to a large cask with a capacity of 252 wine gallons, which holds approximately 2100 pounds of water. ... George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 - 20 January 1936) was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor, as a result of his creating it from the British branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. ... Mary of Teck (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes; 26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953) was the Queen Consort of George V. Queen Mary was also the Empress of India and Queen of Ireland. ...

Contents

The site

H.M. Factory, Gretna consisted of four production sites, two townships and an independent water supply system consisting of a reservoir and filters, and several water pumping stations.[3] The Ashokan Reservoir, located in Ulster County, New York, USA. It supplies New York City with drinking water. ...


Site 1, at Smalmstown, was to the north of Longtown; Site 2, at Mossband, was bounded on the west by the Caledonian Railway (now the West Coast Main Line), and the River Esk on the south and the east.[3] Sites 3 and 4 were bounded on the south by the Solway Firth and the River Sark; and on the north by the (B721) Gretna to Dornock road, the townships and the Glasgow and South Western Railway.[3] The western area, Site 3, was adjacent to Eastriggs township; Site 4, to its east, was adjacent to Gretna township.[3] The Caledonian Railway was a Scottish railway company which was grouped into the London Midland and Scottish Railway by the Railways Act 1921 in 1923. ... The WCML running alongside the M1 motorway at Watford Gap in Northamptonshire A Virgin Pendolino and freight train on the WCML The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important intercity railway lines in the United Kingdom, part of the British railway system. ... The River Esk is a river in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, that flows into the Solway Firth. ... Glasgow and South Western Railway formed part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. ...


Water was taken from the River Esk, north of Longtown through a 42 inch diameter pipe to the pump house.[3] From there it was pumped through a 33 inch main to the reservoir and treatment works.[3] An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


Production

At its peak, the factory produced 800 tons (812 tonne) of Cordite RDB every week, more than all the other plants in Britain put together.[1] It had its own railway network with 125 miles of track, and 34 railway engines, its own coal fired power station to provide electricity for the factory and townships, a water treatment plant handling ten million gallons a day, a telephone exchange which handled 2.5 million calls in 1918 as well as bakeries and a laundry. The word ton or tonne is derived from the Old English tunne, and ultimately from the Old French tonne, and referred originally to a large cask with a capacity of 252 wine gallons, which holds approximately 2100 pounds of water. ... A tonne or metric ton (symbol t), sometimes referred to as a metric tonne, is a measurement of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms. ... Cordite is a particular family of smokeless propellants made by combining two high explosives: nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, i. ...


Closure

It closed at the end of the 1st World War and the plant was demolished. The site however was retained until the 1920s when much of the site was sold off in some 700 lots.[4] The two townships of Eastriggs and Gretna and the bakeries were also sold off.[4] The 1920s was a decade sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ...


World War II and beyond

Three areas were retained throughout the remainder of the 20th century, and were used by the Ministry of Defence for ammunition storage. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and the headquarters of the British Armed Forces. ...

  • Some 2,500 acres (1000 hectare) of Site 2, at Mossband, was used in the 1930s to store ammunition. It become a Central Ammunition Depot, CAD Longtown. Later on it was downgraded to a Base Ammunition Depot, BAD Longtown.
  • Site 1, at Smalmstown, became a sub-depot of CAD Longtown..
  • 1,250 acres (500 hectares) of Site 3, to the southeast of Eastriggs, was used in the 1930s by the Ministry of Supply for ammunition storage.[4] It was known as CAD Eastriggs; in the 1960s it became a sub-depot of CAD Longtown.[4] Much of the internal transport of ammunition within CAD Eastriggs was carried out using a narrow gauge railway system.[4] CAD Eastriggs was also connected to the national railway network, near Eastriggs, via a link to the Glasgow and South Western Railway.[4]

Site 4 appears to have been sold off and returned to agricultural uses. An acre is the name of a unit of area in a number of different systems, including Imperial units and United States customary units. ... A hectare (symbol ha) is a unit of area, equal to 10 000 square metres, commonly used for measuring land area. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... The Ministry of Supply (MoS) was a department of the UK Government formed in 1939 to co-ordinate the supplying of equipment to the British armed forces, headed by the Minister of Supply. ... Dr. Seuss Jean Shepherd Ringo Starr John Steinbeck Gloria Steinem Tom Stoppard Hunter S. Thompson Gore Vidal Peter Vincent Kurt Vonnegut Andy Warhol Alan Watts Bob Weir Brian Wilson Tom Wolfe There were six Olympics held during the decade. ... Narrow-gauge railways are railroads (railways) with track spaced at less than the standard gauge of 4 ft 8 in (1. ... Glasgow and South Western Railway formed part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. ...


An on site exhibition, The Devil's Porridge is on display in Eastriggs. It takes its name from a description by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1917: Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish author most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, and the adventures of Professor Challenger. ...

The nitroglycerin on the one side and the gun-cotton on the other are kneaded into a sort of a devil's porridge Nitroglycerin (NG), also known as nitroglycerine, trinitroglycerin, and glyceryl trinitrate, is a chemical compound. ... Nitrocellulose (Cellulose nitrate, guncotton) is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose (e. ...

See also

Cordite is a particular family of smokeless propellants made by combining two high explosives: nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, i. ... Rosie the Riveter: We Can Do It! - Many women first found economic strength in World War II-era manufacturing jobs. ... The Poo Crisis of 1915 brought down the government of the United Kingdom (then engaged in World War I) because it was widely perceived that the production of artillery shells for use by the British Army was inadequate. ... British industrial narrow gauge railways are narrow gauge railways in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man that were primarily built to serve one or more industries. ...

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Munitions of War, Preface
  2. ^ Rayner-Canham
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ministry of Munitions of War, Chapter 2: Water Supply
  4. ^ a b c d e f Longtown Military Railway

References

  • Ministry of Munitions of War, (1919). H.M. Factory, Gretna: Description of plant and process. Dumfries: J. Maxwell & Son, for His Majesty's Stationery Office.
  • Ritchie, E. (N/D). The Gretna Girls, Wigtown: Wigtown District Museum Service. (Note: not dated but believed to be mid 1980s - certainly pre 1986).
  • Gordon L. Routledge Gretna's Secret War (1999)
  • Cocroft, Wayne D., (2000). Dangerous Energy: The archaeology of gunpowder and military explosives manufacture, Swindon: English Heritage. ISBN 1-85074-718-0.
  • Ordnance Survey. Explorer Map (Number 323). Eskdale & Castle O'er Forest. - 1:25,000 scale (2.5 inches to 1 mile). ISBN 0-319-23685-4.
  • Rayner-Canham, Marelene and Rayner-Canhan, Geoffrey, (1996). The Gretna garrison, in: Chemistry in Britain, Pages 37 - 41. (March 1996).
  • Video/DVD, (1994). Longtown Military Railway. Carnforth: Tele Rail.

External links

  • Website of the on-site exhibition
  • Devil's Porridge: How world's largest factory helped win The Great War from The Scotsman

 
 

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