Down Memory Lane

Roslin Glen Country Park gains Green Flag status
Roslin Glen Country Park gains Green Flag status

Roslin Gunpowder Mills closed in 1954 after being in production for 150 years from the Napoleonic wars, the Crimean and Boer Wars and two World Wars.

ICI owned the mills at the end and stated the main reason for closure was subsidence caused by coal mining activity. If machinery was not sitting quite true, sparks might occur which could cause an explosion of gunpowder dust.

The other reason was one of economics in that there was less demand for gunpowder. More modern explosives had been taking over for both industrial and military use and their main factory at Ardeer in Ayrshire could produce all the gunpowder that was needed. Ardeer has also since closed.

The buildings were cleaned of all deposits of gunpowder dust and the machinery removed, either to be broken up for scrap or reused in other factories. The lightweight walls and roofs were taken down, leaving stone and brick walls standing.

Over the years, these gradually deteriorated until in 1972, the area was taken into the care of Midlothian County Council. By 1977, Midlothian District Council had drawn up plans for a Country Park.

Winnie Stevenson’s full feature appears in this week’s Advertiser. On sale now.