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Bishopton, Bishopton Royal Ordnance Factory, General

Explosives Factory (20th Century)

Site Name Bishopton, Bishopton Royal Ordnance Factory, General

Classification Explosives Factory (20th Century)

Canmore ID 300766

Site Number NS47SW 149

NGR NS 43281 70562

NGR Description Centred NS 43281 70562

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Renfrewshire
  • Parish Erskine
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS47SW 149.00 centred 43281 70562

The S part of the site falls on a separate map sheet for this see NS46NW 31.00

For 1st Edition farmsteads and other features including the brick and tile works see NS47SW 150-156 and for external properties and houses related to the factory see NS47SW 157-159

NS47SW 149.01 Centred NS 43583 70414 Factory General, Administration and Factory

NS47SW 149.02 Centred NS 42943 70937 Factory 1

NS47SW 149.03 NS 42936 71256 Pillbox

This site is still owned and used by the Ministry of Defence.

J Guy 2001; NMRS MS 810/11, Part 3, 198-9

Situated 12 miles W of Glasgow close to the village of Bishopton is the explosives site at Bishopton, the Royal Ordnance's primary manufacture of propellants for gun and rocket systems. The site occupies a total of about 940 hectares (2350 acres), of which 890 hectares are within the factory fence. Within this area are some 20 hectres of covered floor space, much of which was derelict (1996) Plans in 1996 included a restructuring plan to reduce much of the operational area of the site and reduce still further the occupied buildings to 112.

Nearly 75% of the buildings date to the 1939-1945 war, with many of the redundant buildings from this period being contaminated with explosives. There is also office accommodation in a three storey building with several other smaller buildings. One, Dargavel House (NS46SW 20 ), is listed.

Also produced at this site were combustable cartridge cases and explosive ingrediants for the end products. The site is the largest in area within the Royal Ordnance incorporating farmland, forestry and some recreational land.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), July 2007; MS 879/92

A rapid photographic survey of some of the surviving buildings within the Bishopton ROF factory was undertaken in October 2009. The survey concentrated on Factory 1 buildings along with some from Factory 2 and the general factory areas. As well as the above selected buildings from other parts of the site, notably the Rocket Propellant and General buildings were photographed.

The factory was one of three Propellant factories built in 1938-39, the others being at ROF Wrexham and ROF Ranskill.

Many buildings are now derelict and in some cases a dangerous condition. Tetryl, RDX, TNT and Nitro were added later.

Three factories were built mainly to provide duplication cover should any of the production units be damaged by enemy action.

Much of Factory 3 has now been demolished.

There are now proposals to re-develop the site.


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