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Remembered Today:

Dundee National Shell Factory Staff Social March 9, 1918


John Gilinsky
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Today I acquired a quite attractive (sorry cannot scan this):( program for the "Dundee National Shell Factory" Staff Social dated March 9, 1918. A 4 page in total (folding pamphlet) with a very attractive cover of a munition girl in working uniform with a union jack and shell behind her. Inside 2 pages are a brief program with many cartoon vignettes and the back has a further cartoon vignette signed I think by T. Ross.

I tried searching both the Internet and the GWForum but no luck pinning down any history of this particular National Shell Factory history or this particular event.

Can anyone furnish further light on the factory, its history and this particular event?

Thanks,

John

Toronto

Canada

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Hi John,

not much, but could it be this place...

24. Dundee, 51-63 Mains Road (National Shell Factory) Jun 1915 (start date) Sep 1915 (first output) 18-pdr. and 2.75-in shell; forgings; burster containers. Under the control of Board of Management.

Cheers, Jon

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Hi John,

not much, but could it be this place...

24. Dundee, 51-63 Mains Road (National Shell Factory) Jun 1915 (start date) Sep 1915 (first output) 18-pdr. and 2.75-in shell; forgings; burster containers. Under the control of Board of Management.

Cheers, Jon

I think so but can only surmise that you took this from the listing from the net of national munition factories which gives the same details. Any Glasgowians (sorry!) Gordies? out there who can shed some both contemporary records and current status of the plants or buildings of this place? I tried the online Scotsman but did not come up with accounts of this staff social. The cartoon vignettes inside are really neat: eg. a woman munition worker wearing an almost mini-skirt!

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John,

Being from Dundee (a Dundonian) your thread drew my attention. I can't say what is at 51-63 Mains road now but I'll bet that it won't be manufacturing anything.At the top end of west side of the street is housing which has been there since before the Great war. Further down there used to be a dairy which has`also been built on and at the bottom there is housing built between the wars. On the east side there was a factory works (Bowbridge Works) which I understood was mainly involved in the Jute industry. Some of that still stands but has been divided up and let. Anyway the entrance for this would have been around the corner in Caldrum Street. The Rest of the complex has been flattened and recently built on.

I'll swing by the address later on in the day and find out what has happened to the building you are interested in.

regards

Ian

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John,

Being from Dundee (a Dundonian) your thread drew my attention. I can't say what is at 51-63 Mains road now but I'll bet that it won't be manufacturing anything.At the top end of west side of the street is housing which has been there since before the Great war. Further down there used to be a dairy which has`also been built on and at the bottom there is housing built between the wars. On the east side there was a factory works (Bowbridge Works) which I understood was mainly involved in the Jute industry. Some of that still stands but has been divided up and let. Anyway the entrance for this would have been around the corner in Caldrum Street. The Rest of the complex has been flattened and recently built on.

I'll swing by the address later on in the day and find out what has happened to the building you are interested in.

regards

Ian

Aye wee Gordie (sorry I had to throw this in!:) for your consideration I am going to try to scan the 4 page thing.

John

Toronto

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John

I didn't get the chance to go that way today after all but I can definitely tell you that the premises at 51-63 Mains Road would have been in the part of the Bowbridge works which has been developed for housing.

I would quite like to see your pamphlet but not at the risk of you damaging it by opening it up for scanning.

regards

Ian

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As another Dundonian, I can confirm what Ian says, Bowbridge Works. There long enough to have a local pub called after it. Jute works could be large sprawling affairs covering several acres. Their warehousing took up lots of space. I suspect that the Shell Factory was in what had been a warehouse. and returned to that, after the war. The main product of Dundee was sandbags. Millions were made in the course of the war.

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As another Dundonian, I can confirm what Ian says, Bowbridge Works. There long enough to have a local pub called after it. Jute works could be large sprawling affairs covering several acres. Their warehousing took up lots of space. I suspect that the Shell Factory was in what had been a warehouse. and returned to that, after the war. The main product of Dundee was sandbags. Millions were made in the course of the war.

Hi all,

I worked in the 'Bow Brig, If it was there I can only assume it was turning out components as it was in the middle of high density housing, Bow Brig itself had hundreds of workers turning out jute cloth, I would have thought they were running at full capacity, and the daily threat of fire from "mill stour" was constant, I recollect factory buildings across Main St from the Bow Brig that led on to Isla street, that was a big manufacturing area. It could have been factories as I cant remember a high mill.

Tom

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Hi all,

Here is a map of the area 1901. Quite close tae twa high-quality football teams too :D

Aye

Tom McC

:huh: one maybe! Thanks for the map. The piece of ground I was warbling about was Caldrum Works and they had a High Mill and two camels on their gate, so I dont know! My granny worked in munitions in the 2nd WW and she lived between the twa quality teams grounds perhaps it was the same factory. as most folk worked close to their homes , particularly women.

Tom

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Toms x 3,

I did wonder about a munitions factory placed there, which would have been in the centre of a highly populated area and along side a factory using very combustable material. The Bowbridge works are on the odd numbered side of the street with the low numbers stating at the top of the road at the junction with the Strathmartine rd.

regards

Ian

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Gentlemen: The scan(s) are slightly delayed but should be up I hope within 1 or 2 days at most. The original item is in very good condition and will not be damaged by being opened up. I know that most people will enjoy it. Secondly several of you have commented about how a munitions plant could be situated in the midst of high density housing even during or pre-1914 as well. Here in Toronto, Canada the second largest city in the country during the war, one of the Canada's major industrial hubs was situated right downtown near upper class neighbourhoods (eg. Parkdale in 1900 - 1930), rail, water and road transportation. Workers considered it a necessity generally in Canada during the war to live and work in close proximity rather than what we would consider "commuting." Finally what happened to the municipal records of Dundee(are they part of the City of Glasgow municipal or corporate archives?)?

Thanks and keep you ideas coming so that we can with certainty pinpoint this factory.

Nothing yet on March 9, 1918 staff social? What about local Dundee major papers?

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Hi John,

Dundee did, and indeed still has it's own newspapers, being the home city for the large, family owned publishers and printers D.C. Thomson. The main newspapers at the time were the "Dundee Courier" and "The Peoples Journal". The "Courier" is`still going strong and has one of the largest circulations in the country(U.K.) for a local paperand serves the whole of Tayside, Fife and parts of the central belt. I don't think any of the past copies are availble on line; when I have carried out any research I've had to go into Dundee Central library and look through bound copies of the paper. D.C. Thomsons have a website which runs a forum. There are many people in the city who are interested it's industrial heritage. Perhaps a query on the forum or an e-mail to the paper will uncover the information you require.

Dundee, being an established town and then city for over 800 years, has it's own local government which is currently Dundee City Council and they have a website which may help you in your search. I would volunteer to follow some of this up on your behalf but my work commitments outside the city leading up to Christmas are pretty time consuming not to mention all the family stuff. I'll continue to try to help where I can.

good luck in your search

regards

Ian

P.S. Dundee has as much to do with Glasgow as say Vancouver B.C. has to do with Windsor Ontario. they are both in the same country but.....

www.dcthomson.co.uk

www.dundeecity.gov.uk

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Gentlemen,

Can I also point you in the direction of http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dundee-history/ ?

This is just the sort of request that would kick it into life - it is rather a fits-and-starts group, though you'll need to sign up with Yahoo to post on it.

It's also possible a useful photo might turn up here: http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/photodb/main.htm

If Caldrum works had camels on its gate it would have been a Grimond property - at least when built. I don't know when the Grimonds left Dundee, but Carbet Castle seems to have begun to be pulled down by 1939, so probably in other hands by the time Black Jock's mum was there. You can see the camel in the Grimond coat of arms on the gatehouse of Carbet Castle. I'm pretty sure there's a duscussion on it somewhere on that Yahoo Group.

Hope that helps,

Adrian

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Older Dundonian pals will recall the Gussie Park where the carnival used to be when it visited. Just the other side of the Dens Road and now a training ground for D.Utd. At the Arklay Street end of Gussie Park was a building used as a school dinners hall by Dens Road School and signed as a British Restaurant. This may imply a munitions works in the area in WW2. With reference to another thread, some great crown and anchor games used to take place here on Sundays.

Just seen the post about Grimonds. Mills and factories in Dundee had could be known by one or more names. The official name, a nickname and the name of the original owners. Caldrum works was known as Grimonds and sometimes as the camel works. These names lasted many years after the works came under the aegis of Jute Industries. The camel still surmounted the gates until the 50s anyway.

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Tom,

There were many small engineering works around that area which could have turned to the manufacturing of Equipment and ammunition for the war effort. My father started work as an office boy during WW2 with T.C. Keay who were situated off Sandeman street. They turned from general light engineering to the manufacture of gun parts during 39-45 and no doubt something the same happened during 14-18.

I remember the Gussie park carnival although it was also the scene of my last appearance in an organised 11 a side match about 8 years ago.

Adrian,

Fantastic pictures from old Dundee although a quick search did not reveal any for Mains road. I'm looking forward to having a look through the archive in greater detail tonight.

regards

Ian

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I think that you will find that the Dundee National Shell Factory was just that manufacturing shells, the completed shells would then be sent off to a National Filling Factory to be filled.

John

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I think that you will find that the Dundee National Shell Factory was just that manufacturing shells, the completed shells would then be sent off to a National Filling Factory to be filled.

John

John,

Where is the National Filling Factory?

Tom

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A National Filling Factory is where the shell is filled with explosive and either plugged with a transit plug or fitted with a fuze completely attached if fixed ammunition such as an 18 Pdr and boxed ready for transit, or plugged or fuzed if seperate shell such as a 4.5 in Shell, these are boxed seperately, shells in one box and cartridges in another. One of the largest National Filling Factories was located at Crossgates near Leeds this was called the No 1 National Filling Factory one of the largest in Britan during WW 1 emplying something like 18,000 the majority being women. There were Shell Factories and National Filling Factories dotted all over Britan.

John

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Thanks everyone for your consideration of others. I am making every possible diligent effort to put up some recognizeable scans(!) keeping in mind the 100k limit on jpgs for the forum. Anyone can use these scans and download them for further research etc... The best that I can make out the artist's name btw is T. Ross(?). I certainly hope that the scans will inspire more research into Dundee's World War I past and its industrial archaeological record.

John

Toronto

Canada

P.S. My apologies for displaying my ignorance of Scottish geography!

:rolleyes:

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Hi All,

I am pretty certain that the majority of the munitions work took place on the west coast. That said, Dundee would still have plenty of industry that came under the ministry of munitions. Disregarding the jute (500,000 sandbags a week), the light-engineering and shipbuilding were two areas controlled by munitions. It is possible that these were making sub-components for shells, etc. I have not heard of a shell filling station in Dundee during the First World War, if there was then I've learned something new. I would have thought it more pratical to put this along the explosives production run on the west coast.

Aye

Tom McC

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Part of the problem is that all kinds of firms did piecemeal or component work rather than what we would think of as finished shells. One company Canada Bed located in a small south-western Ontario city did just this during the war. Hundreds of companies (thousands in the UK?) clearly manufactured components (such as boxes for the shells, fuzes, varnishes or paints used for the shells, etc....) yet were considered on munitions work officially.

John

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Part of the problem is that all kinds of firms did piecemeal or component work rather than what we would think of as finished shells. One company Canada Bed located in a small south-western Ontario city did just this during the war. Hundreds of companies (thousands in the UK?) clearly manufactured components (such as boxes for the shells, fuzes, varnishes or paints used for the shells, etc....) yet were considered on munitions work officially.

John

John,

Much to my chagrin I have only skimmed the items in the various Dundee papers for the period, as well as those of the smaller towns in the county of Angus concerning munitions. This part of Scotland was highly industrialised as has been mentioned, two of which I have had experiance in, shipbuilding and jute and welcome your post, and hope it develops.

Tom

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John

Toronto

Canada

P.S. My apologies for displaying my ignorance of Scottish geography!

Phew! good job u did apologise there. My wife is from Dundee, I'm from Glasgow on opposite coasts! Now we're doing "missionary" work in London. Sometimes we can understand each other's accents.

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