Amazing pictures show abandoned explosives factory set up by Alfred Nobel


INCREDIBLE pictures have captured an abandoned explosives factory which was founded by the inventor of dynamite.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1867 and four years later chose a site in Ardeer, North Ayrshire, as the British base for production of his new invention.

Nobel Industries Limited used the Ardeer site as their first factory due to its remote location and sandy surroundings which made effective blast walls.

It soon grew into the world’s largest explosives factory, creating products for mining as well as military use. The factory played a key role in producing high explosives in both world wars.

At its peak, the factory employed over 13,000 people and in 1926, they merged with another company to become part of a new group called Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI).

Due to its remote location, the Ardeer site became like a small community, with most people employed by ICI and at one point it even had a bank, travel agent and dentist based there.

Such was the success of the business, it even had its own jetty in the Irvine harbour and there were two trains per day to transport workers to a station within the factory up until the mid-1960s.

In 2002, Nobel Enterprises was sold off and in 2007, there was a major fire on site but much of the building was undamaged.

Nowadays, much of the site is derelict and has been captured by photographer Lee Gannon in a series of stunning images.

One of his photographs shows the exterior of the huge factory, with a rusty pipes and tanks and sand dunes nearby.

Another shot shows the old factory floor, with dirty and broken windows and foliage growing out from machines.

One eerie shot shows an old staircase with cobwebs and debris on the floor.

Another image shows a solitary chair on what would at one time have been a bustling factory floor but now is filled with old wires and pipes.

A photo of an old newspaper from November 2000 suggests how long some areas of the factory has been untouched for whilst another shot shows an old style set of Hopkinson scales.

Speaking about his experience inside the factory, Lee said: “There wasn’t really much in there accept from the heavy machinery and a few other things however, what did stand out was a newspaper from year 2000.

“I did feel like it was a big pile of rubbish that has just been left waiting to be demolished but it was an outstanding building, a lot different from what I’m used to shooting.”

Alfred Nobel was born in 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, and at one point held 355 different patents, with dynamite being the most famous.

He invented dynamite in 1867 and had it patented in the US and Britain. It was used extensively in the building of transports and mining around the world.

His will established the Nobel prizes which were first awarded in 1901 following his death aged 63 in 1896.

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