Short History story:
Leaving school after sitting my “A” and “O” levels ( at Irvine Royal Academy) I took my first “Real Job” .. ICI Nobel division; Ardeer, Stevenston, Ayrshire Scotland. As part of tenure with ICI I managed to attend university and graduated with a Mech. Eng. degree.
The Ardeer peninsula in Ayrshire is basically a gigantic sand dune - chosen by Alfred Nobel in 1871 as the site for his British Dynamite Factory because of it's remote location and lots of sand to make protective berms and blast walls.
It soon grew into the world's largest explosives factory, making explosives for mining and quarrying, and expanding into other explosives and propellants for both civilian and military uses.
Nobel Explosives became part of ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) in 1926, but production shifted away and the Ardeer plant diversified into other non-explosive products, unfortunately these didn't do so well - much of the site is now derelict.
Thinking back .. my experiences at Ardeer were to serve me well in future ventures & adventures. It would be a Herculean task just to list the Skilled trades and unique process mastered at Ardeer. Some trades seldom encountered in an industrial habitat: Sailmakers, Patternmakers, Tinsmiths, Blacksmiths, Instrument Artificers, Glassblowers, Train Drivers. These coupled with major: metal, wood and glass working trades along with many detailed facets within a trade made a unique set of learning adventures. Add to all this a plethora of Engineers and Scientists of every ilk. To help visualize this site.. It’s approx 21 Sq. miles .. 7 miles long by 3 miles wide. A shipping dock on the Irvine (south) side. The internal, inside the factory boundaries: Infirmary, Dentist, Banking to name a few.
Nobel Enterprises was sold in 2002 to Inabata.
As an apprentice tool maker and mechanical engineering candidate I got a 6 month rotation in most of the factory activates: Explosives, Chemical and Acids. In the explosives section you learn about Static Electricity VERY fast. Negligence could be and was fatal in some instances. I worked there from 1965 thu 1971. Shorty after leaving ICI I worked briefly for Massey Ferguson in Kilmarnock, before moving to USA.