Stevenston, Ayrshire - The Ardeer Factory


Nobel's Explosives Company and its successor ICI have been part of Ayrshire's economy for over 125 years. There can be few people in the area whose life has not been touched by that enterprise. The Nobel Explosive Factory at Ardeer once sustained the economies of the Three Towns (Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston) and neighbouring Kilwinning. At its peak, the factory employed 12,700 people.

The Ardeer Company

The Ardeer Company, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was formed at the Nobel's Explosive Factory, Ardeer in 1913 using employees who were prepared ro guard the factory site in time of war. In 1913 and 1914, the company went to annual camp with the 4th Battalion. On or before mobilisation on 4 Aug 1914, the company was on duty at the factory. However it appears to have been disbanded in Nov 1914, allowing staff to page to their vital war work. The guard responsibility was taken up by a company of The Cameronians. The company is still shown on the Army List for Nov 1918 with five officers. It was not reformed after WWI.

The Big Idea Millennium Project

The Nobel Trust plan to create a huge interactive family tree of Nobel's Explosives people and need help from ex-workers and their families. If you or a member of your family worked for Nobel's Explosives or ICI at any of the Ardeer factories, then you could help The Nobel Trust to build that family tree. This is intended to become an important part of the "Big Idea" Millennium project.

The Big Idea will be situated on the tip of the Ardeer peninsula opposite Irvine Harbour and will feature a Hundred Years of Nobel Laureates, a Millennium of Invention and the History of Explosions, explaining the big ideas of the past, but more importantly, the big ideas of tomorrow.

Forms for submitting family details are available from Irvine, Stevenston and Kilwinning libraries or from the Nobel Exhibition Trust, McGowan House, Lundholm Road, Stevenston, Ayrshire, KA20 3LJ; Telephone 01294 461999.