This locomotive was built in 1917 by Andrew Barclay for the Ministry of Munitions. It was delivered new in January 1918 to Nobel Explosives Ltd which was located west of Irvine. It was one of a batch of four built for the Ministry of Munitions and of two that have since been preserved – the other is Works No 1572 which was delivered to Queensferry.
It was a fireless locomotive which means that it had a steam accumulator rather than a boiler and was charged up with steam from a stationary boiler. It also meant that there was no chance of it starting a fire.
It had 14½ inch x 18 inch outside cylinders and 3 feet diameter driving wheels.
It was given the name Irvine at some stage in its life.
The purpose of the Ministry of Munitions plant was to produce nitro-cellulose powder production to reduce overseas purchases.
Nobel Explosives Ltd was formed in 1900 but the history of the business goes back to 1870 when Nobel Industries Ltd was founded by Alfred Nobel who was a Swedish chemist and industrialist. It was created for the production of dynamite (a stable form of Nitroglycerine) which was then a new explosive. In 1926 the firm merged with Brunner, Mond & Company, the United Alkali Company and British Dystuffs Corporation to create Imperial Chemicals Industries (ICI) Nobel Industries continued as the Nobel division of ICI. At its peak the site on the Ayrshire coast employed 13,000 workers.
I find it interesting that the Nobel factory is described as being at Irvine as my father who worked for the Nobel Division of ICI always referred to it as Ardrossan which is the town next to Irvine.
The locomotive was next employed by the Glasgow Corporation Electricity Department at Dalmarnock Power Station on the banks of the River Clyde. Construction of this started in 1913 and the first phase opened in 1920. The plant would have opened earlier if delays had not resulted from the outbreak of the First World War. The second phase opened in 1926.
It is believed that the locomotive moved to Dalmarnock around the time the first phase of the plant was opened in 1920.
In 1948 the electricity supply industry was taken over by the British Electricity Authority and subsequently the South of Scotland Electricity Board.
The locomotive left the power station in May 1969 and is now part of the Glasgow Museums collection.
It appears to have spent time in the old Glasgow Museum of Transport at Kelvin but is currently stored in the Glasgow Museum Resource centre where it is not on public display.