Ardeer Hamiltons

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Ardeer Hamiltons

by Hughie » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:41 pm

Runcorn Weekly News
June 8, 1945

Ardeer Hamiltons

THERE were Hamiltons in Ardeer when Alfred Nobel founded his explosives company amid the sand dunes of North Ayrshire in 1873 and gave to Britain a new industry. There are Hamiltons there today and one of the best known of them is Agnes Hamilton, the subject of this portrait. One great grandfather, two grandfathers and grandmother and both her parents have been explosives workers at Ardeer. On leaving school of 14 she went to work in a hosiery factory. But the pull of family tradition proved too strong and at 18 she took a job in the cordite section at Ardeer. From there, she was transferred to the Blasting Department, where one of the main products is gelignite, which in peace-time is used almost exclusively in mining and quarrying.

Gelignite in appearance resembles yellowish brown Plasticine. After being mixed it is passed through an extrusion machine where it is formed into long round cords which are then cut into cartridges of the desired length and wrapped in paper. Miss Hamilton's job is to pack these cartridges so as to keep them dry during storage, as they are rendered unfit for use if they become too damp. She weighs them into 3lb lots, packs each lot in cardboard cartons and then wraps each carton in waxed paper which is sealed with molter max. These cartons are finally packed, ten to the case, into wooden cases for transport. The operations are all carried out by hand and under conditions which allow the material to the handled with safety. Miss Hamilton knows that as well as maintaining unbroken a long family tradition, she is helping to win the coal for our hearths and furnaces, the stone for our roads, and the slate for the roof of our houses.

Painting by Scottish artist Keith Henderson