Explosions at Ardeer Factory

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lindakelley
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Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by lindakelley » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:56 pm

My grandmother was from Stevenston and I have enjoyed the wonderful resources on the Threetowners Website for some time. It has been a lovely source for me as I work on my genealogy.

Thanks especially to Hugh and the others who have contributed to the Ardeer Factory history. I have read it with interest, as my family had a history there.

I noticed that the explosion history has been expanded over time. There is another one that I know of that took my grandmother's brother. My grandmother told me many times about her brother's death, but the only documentation I currently have is his death registry on Scotlands People.

This is what I know of the incident:

From his death registry:

James Roe, cordite worker age 23, died at the Infirmary on September 26th, 1918, 2 1/2 days after the explosion from burns to his head, trunk and limbs and meningitis.

So, the explosion would have occurred on Sept 23rd or 24th, 1918.

From my grandmother Bessie Roe who was 12 years old when she lost her brother:

My grandmother said that the day of the explosion was to be her brother's last day on the job at the factory, as he was planning to go into another line of work. He had already left the factory when the explosion occurred. She said he went back to help but was caught in the fire himself. He was burned so badly that his skin was ash, but his heart was strong, so he lingered 2 days before dying.

Since I am based in the US, I have no access to old newspapers, nor do I even know where I would begin to look. Can anyone give me guidance on where I could find further documentation of the incident?

Many Thanks,

Linda Kelley

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Post by Hughie » Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:51 pm

Hi Linda,

Welcome to threetowners! If no one comes up with more details then you could contact the Local History Centre at Ardrossan Library. Jill McColl and Elizabeth Bell are the contacts and their email address is: naheritage@north-ayrshire.gov.uk The story should be in the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald which is held on microfilm from 1857 up to the present day.

I'd be pleased if you'd also send me any information you might come across about this explosion for adding to the Ardeer Factory section of threetowners.com
Last edited by Hughie on Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Glasgow Vennel Centre e-mail address updated

glenshena
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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by glenshena » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:07 am

I remember an explosion at ICI in the 60's where three men lost their lives, one being the father of a school chum of mine who lived across the road in Eglinton street, Saltcoats. Mr Oliphant. A tali handsome Man married with two sons, Keith And Kenneth and a daughter, Maureen, all of school age. A lovely family. It was a terrible shock to all. Reading the previous threads, I now doubt that my father died of natural causes, he was only 49, and suffered from asthma for years after leaving the ICI because of an explosion in the 50s.
He was in the RAF during the war, stationed in Norfolk, so presume he was fit and healthy then and after being demobbed he worked in the factory for a few years until he had to retire through ill health. When he died my mother received a small ICI pension so presumably some fault was admitted. Perhaps compensation should also have been granted.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by Penny Tray » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:17 am

lindakelley wrote: So, the explosion would have occurred on Sept 23rd or 24th, 1918.
The problem I think you've encountered is the 'news embargo' that would be placed on Ardeer Factory during the war.

I do have the following snippet however, from the 27 September 1918 issue of the Glasgow Herald:-

"While engaged in their employment in an Ayrshire Factory two workers - Margaret Eccles, Croft Street, Tarbolton, and James Roe, New Street, Stevenston, were severely burned. The woman died shortly afterwards."

Although he died the day before the date of publication there is no mention of Mr. Roe's passing.
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by exile » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:46 am

glenshena wrote:I remember an explosion at ICI in the 60's where three men lost their lives, one being the father of a school chum of mine who lived across the road in Eglinton street, Saltcoats. Mr Oliphant. A tali handsome Man married with two sons, Keith And Kenneth and a daughter, Maureen, all of school age. A lovely family. It was a terrible shock to all. Reading the previous threads, I now doubt that my father died of natural causes, he was only 49, and suffered from asthma for years after leaving the ICI because of an explosion in the 50s.
He was in the RAF during the war, stationed in Norfolk, so presume he was fit and healthy then and after being demobbed he worked in the factory for a few years until he had to retire through ill health. When he died my mother received a small ICI pension so presumably some fault was admitted. Perhaps compensation should also have been granted.
The asthma in a previously healthy man sounds familiar...
My grandfather went into ICI at the start of the war, and always said that 3 years in somewhere called "the acids" drastically "cut his breath", as he described it.
He had been fit enough to be one of the top badminton players in North Ayrshire, but he certainly wheezed loudly and couldn't do anything strenuous without pausing for frequent rests for the remainder of his life.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by nettie13 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:10 am

Margaret Henderson Eccles known as Maggie Eccles was my great aunt, I have looked for information about this explosion but not found any. I will now look for the Glasgow papers. I bought the book In the Shadow of the Dynamite by John Millar which was good for the history of the factory but doesn't cover all the incidents and deaths. I bought it second hand on the internet as I think its now out of print.

I have Maggie's death record she died in the ambulance room at the Ardeer Factory with 3rd to 4th degree burns after 6 hours on 24 September 2018. Her injuries were received in consequence of some cordite having accidentally ignited.

My grandmother Mary Eccles migrated to Western Australia. She had four sisters Maggie, Annie Colquhuon, Elizabeth Green and Jessie Phipps. Annie was the only sister who remained in Scotland the other two lived in England.

I live in Australia and we always knew about my great aunt. I travelled to the Ardeer site a few years ago but of course could only look in from the fence.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by Penny Tray » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:26 am

There is a brief reference to the death of Margaret in the 27 September 1918 edition of the Glasgow Herald. It has been previously posted, simply word search for Margaret Eccles.
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by bobnetau » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:39 am

Has anyone come across any mention of an explosion in ICI , I think in the 50s. I was at school with a boy whose father was killed in an explosion . The boys name was Graham Durnie ( or Durnan?). I think he lived in Kirkhall Drive at that time. He was a very clever boy and I have often wondered what he ended up doing later in life. I can vividly remember the headmaster taking him out of class to tell him, but he had already heard rumours at lunchtime. so sad.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by Penny Tray » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:38 am

Netta,

Three men, including Mr. CHARLES DURNAN, 13 Millglen Road, Ardrossan, were killed in an explosion at Ardeer on the 11th of March 1954. The men were not employees of I.C.I. but outside contractors.
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

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Re: Explosions at Ardeer Factory

Post by bobnetau » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:18 am

Thanks, PT.
That was such a sad day , think that was the nearest I had been to hearing of someone dying. I remember telling Graham that it wasn't his surname as He had said he had heard rumours.

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