Dicksons, the Gunpowder supplier


1980s-dixons-explosives-shed-by-g-cookPictured here in Winter 1980, is Dixon’s Explosives Magazine (store). This is where Dixon’s Colliery owners kept their gunpowder and explosives. I’ve posted previously about it, but recently, the 1895 valuation roll, caused a rethink about this building.

In the census it is shown as owned by “FC Dickson & Co” which set me thinking, have people, including myself got this wrong? i.e Not Dixons but Dicksons, an entirely different company.

The answer lay in further investigation into “FC Dickson & Co”.  This business formed in 1863 in England, and in 1864 a branch of the family set up business under a slightly different name abroad, importing and exporting gunpowder, leaving FC Dickson to trade their own gunpowder within the UK. Between 1867 and 1914, there are many reports of their stores blowing up, sometimes due to lightning strikes. With such a dangerous business, this isn’t surprising, but sadly no reports or connections at all to Blantyre area.

magazineIt would appear this small magazine store at Auchentibber dates from 1893.

So, did FC Dickson actually build these small explosive stores for collieries or perhaps lease them from the colliery, being such high risk, they were obliged to maintain these little buildings in the interests of safety?  I’m not sure an English company would come to Scotland to build a little store for a colliery and the difference in design between Priory and Auchentibber would suggest they all don’t have a common builder.
Even although there was still an association with Dixon’s Colliery, for now given the discovery about ownership, it would appear this little store should be called “Dickson’s Explosives Magazine.” and will likely force a change in whats previously been written.
On social media:

Shona Glaister Does it still exist?

The Blantyre Project Yes Shona. This little building sits in a dip in the field heading up Sydes Brae on the right hand side, just beyond the Crematorum (opposite side). Its hard to see as gorse bushes surround it, but it is intact and quite foreboding to approach.

Shona Glaister Ok thanks, will go up for a look

Trisha Mcginty As they say just dump it in Blantyre?

The Blantyre Project The building was situated some distance off from the actual colliery, as you would imagine for safety, but near enough still for dynamite to be fetched from. This is the one that served Dixons in High Blantyre (possibly pits 2 and 3). Another exists at Blantyre Priory colliery in the woods and one at Bardykes/Spittal. All hidden away from sight.

Shona Glaister Where’s the Bardykes one?

The Blantyre Project hidden in the middle of former Spittal Colliery (Doonins land). On private ground, so ive not seen it, only heard about it.

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