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Old 5th Jan 10, 19:02
Pyroninja's Avatar
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Default ICI/ Nobel Explosives, Ardeer - Pic heavy

Ok so this site has been thoroughly covered and reported by Mr Cooper but I feel almost obliged to add my own tuppence worth..

Founded in 1871 by Mr Alfred Nobel in order to produce his shiny new invention, Dynamite. The business then grew and moved onto the production of other explosives such as blasting gelatine, gelignite, ballistite, guncotton, and cordite. The workforce grew until it reached a peak of nearly 13,000 employees. In 1926 the result of a merge between Brunner, Mond & Company, the United Alkali Company, and the British Dyestuffs Corporation with Nobel Industries LTD resulted in the creation of ICI. The site was descirbed as the worlds largest explosives facotry, more like a town than a factory with an on-site bank, travel agent and dentist. A train station was once present to which transported workers to and from the factory. A nitric acid plant was built in the 1960's but was only operational for 12 years before being decommisioned, a large cooling tower was to be found in this area but this was destroyed during bad weather.

All production has now been centralised to a smaller part of the site leaving a lot of the old buildings lying disused and abandoned...

Photos are from visits between March and September.

The Bunkers

One of the bunkers from outside



Emergency Instructions




This is a siren alarm, when heard you should proceed immediate to the GAS SHELTER, for this is located in the Garnock West farm house. The way to the shelter is indicated by white arrows on a green background with the door to the gas shelter marked with EMERGENCY GAS SHELTER in white on a green background. Do not leave the gas shelter until the alarm has stopped, and the person in charge allows you to leave.

This is a loud klaxon

If you discover a fire immediately inform a member of the department who will set off the fire alarm and call the fire brigade.

If the fire alarm sounds leave the building immediately by the nearest safe exit and proceed to the FIRE ASSEMBLY AREA, for WPP3 this is located in front of Garnock West farm house, and is marked with a sign of a white circle on a green background.

The ambulance point for WPP3 - No. 19 - is located at the front of Garnock West farm house.


Corridors which run along the spine of each bunker, motors would have sat here which would have operated Tangye presses in the rooms in which they are connected to

One of the presses

Various pieces of scientific equipment, scales, oscilliscope, glassware etc

Another Corridor

The Mixing houses

Nitroglycerine vats, notice the holes in the wall, should anything go wrong water would have been pumped through these flooding the entire mixing area

Small building used to load/unload materials onto the carts which ran on the many miles of narrow guage rail track connecting the whole site

The Laboratories
Between this and the first visit I got a new camera, as a result...better pictures

Test vault

Viewing corridor

Outside labs from 'The Street'

Testing ground, small detonations and left overs from experiments would have been destroyed here

Plate cameras, hooked up to a unit which would have allowed the cameras to shoot one after the other allowing the caputre of a detonation

Glass plate negative, not from previously mentioned cameras. This shot showed the damage done to 2 sheets of glass at an overpressure of 100psi from an explosion, one glass cracked the other blown completely out the frame.

Large mortar to test the power of explosives.

Inside one of the labs

The biggest one

Monitoring equipment

Archive room, probably my favourite part of this whole site, full of photographs and records of experiments, the outcomes and details of world first pioneering research for explosives and methods used today can be found in here, shaped charges for example used in modern demolition and warheads were discovered and created here.

The Power Station
An industrial gem, a giant in comparison to all the other smaller buildings here. It generated electricity for the facility and steam which was distributed throughout the site in insulated pipes for heating..Had a peak output of around 16MW


In the belly of the beast

I was expecting an air tight chamber with a big blast door, flashing lights, gas masks and hazmat suits..instead it was only a make shift staff room with double glazing and a pretty normal wooden door, you can only imagine the dissapointment...

Boiler faces


Up and into the boiler towers

At the top of the boilers

Gantries above the coal hoppers

Some juicy control panel goodness


80KA, yes 80,000 amp fuse

Underneath one of the boilers

Control panels in the tiny control room

Coming back down, time to go home

Sorry for this being such a huge report but each section is an explore in itself, eventually after 4 visits to the site I had seen enough to produce a report. Despite this future visits are in order as there's still a significant portion of the site to be visited....

Thanks for taking the time to have a look
Thanks given by: panicpants

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