Fireman's Helmet, ICI 1939-40

Fireman’s helmet, 1939-40, Imperial Chemical Industries Limited (Explosives Group), Dumfries.   In September 1939 The Ministry of Supply began transforming the farm of Drungans, on the outskirts of Dumfries, into a secret industrial site for the manufacture of acids and nitro-cotton for further processing at Ardeer in Ayrshire.  Forty buildings for production and storage, offices, a fire station and a canteen, as well as a mile of roads and 1,900 yards of railway line were all ready for use by January 1941.   At peak wartime production there was a workforce of 1,350 – more than half of them women.  Oughtons restaurant was taken over to provide meals for shift workers, and for dances and film shows.  Visitors to the factory included the radio comedian Tommy Handley of “I.T.M.A.” fame, Crown Prince Olav of Norway, and Princess Marina, a royal famed for her elegance.
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