NS4566 : Former ROF Bishopton site from the air

taken 10 years ago, near to East Fulwood, Renfrewshire, Great Britain

Former ROF Bishopton site from the air
Former ROF Bishopton site from the air
Seconds after take-off from Glasgow International Airport, bound for Bristol.

The M8 motorway is in the foreground, Selvieland farm is to the left. The flat, wooded area is the south end of the massive former Royal Ordnance Factory at Bishopton. This contaminated site is earmarked for a massive housing development which will require a new junction on the M8. The mountains on the horizon are in Argyll.
Former ROF Bishopton site (2) :: NS4370

Bishopton was one of over 40 Royal Ordnance Factories (ROFs) which were set up around the UK in the 1930s, but production of munitions took place there as early as 1915 to support the Great War effort. The WWI factory closed in 1919 and the site was decommissioned at that time.

A strategic decision to decentralise production of munitions, away from the Royal factories in east London and Essex, was made on several grounds, including the need to put them as far away as possible from enemy aircraft from Europe. Other factors included the need to be away from major centres of population, but with a ready workforce within commuting distance, as well as the need to be at or around sea level (less chance of frost) and with a plentiful supply of clean water (ten million gallons per day).

Opened in 1940, Bishopton was the biggest of the ROFs, covering around 2400 acres (3.7 square miles) and employing 20,000 workers at its peak. The site consisted of three separate factories, each with its own power station. Excess steam from the power stations was used to heat the buildings as well as to dry cordite.

Also included within the site is the Category B Listed Dargavel House LinkExternal link , which is a ‘Tower House’, the earliest part of which dates back to the late-16th Century. It was built by the Maxwells of Dargavel. During the ROF years the building housed meeting rooms and was used for training purposes.

The site contained around eleven miles of standard gauge railway line which served a fleet of nitric acid wagons and which had its own diesel locomotives for shunting purposes. The locos were used to move wagons between the transfer sidings near Bishopton station and various locations within the site. Additionally, there was around 80 miles of 30 inch (760 mm) gauge railway tracks which served most of the buildings and was used for transporting explosives around the site.

Ownership of the ROFs transferred to British Aerospace in 1987. This resulted in some significant investment at Bishopton, automating the nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose and nitroguanidine manufacturing plants. As well as improving the manufacturing capabilities, there was also an improvement in process safety as a result of this investment.

The site closed in 2002 after production was transferred to a company in South Africa. At the time of closure, fewer then 500 people were employed there.

Claimed to be one of the biggest brownfield sites in the UK, it is currently being developed for housing and light industry, following phased remediation works to decontaminate and demolish almost five hundred buildings, as well as remediation of the ground itself. The developers have committed to recycling at least 90% of the waste material from the site, within the site.

Some of the UK's major house builders are in involved in the development of 'Dargavel Village', including Taylor Wimpey, Avant, Cala, Persimmon and Stewart Milne. Between them they will build 2500 houses, with completion estimated in 2025.

2500 houses and their residents require community facilities, including a new school, and these are included in the development plan. Also included is extended park & ride facilities at Bishopton station (completed 2015), new access roads from the A8 at Chestnut Avenue and Barangarry Farm (both complete) and a new motorway junction on the M8, south west of Bishopton (in progress 2017/18).

Dargavel village web site: LinkExternal link
Wikipedia - ROF Bishopton: LinkExternal link
Wikipedia - ROF general : LinkExternal link
British Aerospace Dargavel web site : LinkExternal link
Catching Photons web site : LinkExternal link

Housebuilders' Dargavel Village web sites:-
Cala : LinkExternal link
Stewart Milne : LinkExternal link
Avant : LinkExternal link
Taylor Wimpey : LinkExternal link
Persimmon : LinkExternal link

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NS4566, 22 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 3 May, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 22 May, 2010
Aerial photo   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 45 66 [1000m precision]
WGS84: 55:52.0101N 4:28.2324W
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West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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