Get your free website from Spanglefish

TORPEDO FACTORY at the ARGYLL MOTOR WORKS, Main Road, Alexandria. 

ACCESS : This refers to the ARGYLL MOTOR WORKS discussed separately. It is now a shopping centre and fully accessible.


The magnificent Argyll Motor Works building got a new lease of life after the car production business went into liquidation. When war broke out in August 1914, the Admiralty it over as a munitions factory, employing many of the car workers. Although industrial relations at Argyll's had been good, some of the men had become very militant. They were sacked by the Admiralty and some found employment on Clydeside. The Munitions Works became known locally as the Gun Works and to the north a building was erected for processing Lyddite for shells. This made the workers come out canary yellow. The munitions were run out of the Works on bogies and stored in Argyll Park.

During the depression a silk factory occupied the Works for a short time, but for many years the buildings stood empty. Unemployment in the Vale rose to 68 per cent.

Then, in 1935, with the rearmament programme the Royal Navy returned and the Works became a torpedo factory until 1969. It is often still called the Torpedo Factory although production ceased almost 4 decades ago. [WDC].

Secret Scotland explains further: To meet the increased demands of re-armament in 1936, the Admiralty increased output by taking over the unused Argyll factory in Alexandria for torpedo production. This allowed the Torpedo Experiment and Design Department to be formed at Greenock, which became a separate facility in 1943, the Torpedo Experimental Establishment (TEE) Greenock, controlled by the Superintendent, Torpedo Experiment and Design (STED). By 1947, all production had been moved to Alexandria, which took over as RNTF, and TEE expanded to cover all aspects of torpedo research, excluding launch gear. TEE was closed in 1959, when all torpedo research, development and design were concentrated at the newly formed Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE), Portland. 

Unsurprisingly, it attracted the attention of the Luftwaffe during aerial reconnaissance. It was not hit. See the Vale of Leven Project link below for an air photo from this time. 

SECRET SCOTLAND : http://www.secretscotland.org.uk/index.php/Secrets/RoyalNavalTorpedoFactories

VALE OF LEVEN PROJECT Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance photo : http://www.valeofleven.org.uk/images/wars/torpedofactoryaerial.jpg

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL website : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/museums-and-galleries/collections/industry/argyll-motor-works/

Click for Map
sitemap | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement