The Devil's Porridge Museum

Gretna Girls
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In 1915, Britain was in crisis. To prevent almost certain defeat in World War One, the government took control of a section of land spanning the Anglo-Scottish border nine miles long and two miles wide. Here they would build an immense factory to mix the 'devil's porridge' (cordite) to make munitions. 30,000 people worked at HM Factory Gretna at its height and the work was mainly done by young women.
The Devil's Porridge Museum tells the story of this undertaking exploring how this region was transformed by World War One and Two. Its displays include: objects and accounts of the Quintinshill Rail Disaster, items relating to the State Management of Alcohol (1916-1973) and oral testimonies, objects and photographs connected to the Solway Military Coast from 1939 onwards and Scotland's First Nuclear Power Station, Chapelcross.
The Museum is volunteer led and run.

Venue Type:

Museum, Industrial heritage site

Opening hours

Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

Last entry 45 minutes prior to closing.

Admission charges

Adults: £6.00
Concessions (Over 60 and children 5-16): £5.00
Children under 5: Free
Families (2 adults and up to 3 children): £15.00

Getting there

Easily accessible by car, situated just off the A75.
Nearest train stations are Annan and Gretna.

Additional info

Cafe
Toilets
Car Park
Coach Parking
Accessible Toilets
Lift

Our collection’s main focus is objects relating to HM Factory Gretna, a large munitions factory on the Anglo-Scottish border, built during World War One and employing 30,000 people at its height. Our collection includes industrial archaeology from the Factory site (located about a mile from the current Museum building) as well as objects used by, belonging to or related to the Factory workers. The Museum holds two other World War One era collections: objects relating to the Quintinshill Rail Disaster and objects relating to the State Management of Alcohol.

We also hold and collect items relating to The Solway Military Coast. This means objects connected to World War Two and the Cold War in the local area (evacuees, The Home Front, RAF bases and munitions factories). The Museum also houses a collection of objects relating to Scotland’s First Nuclear Power Station, Chapelcross.

Collection details

Social History, Weapons and War, Industry, Science and Technology, Personalities

Key artists and exhibits

  • Cordite Makers
  • Mixing the Devil's Porridge
  • KB Quinan
  • Trench Life
  • Ideal Communities: Eastriggs and Gretna
  • State Management Scheme
  • Qunintinshill Rail Disaster
  • The Evacuees
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Rebecca West
  • Raymond Unwin
  • Courtney Crickmer
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Image of Elise Bowerman and Chrystal Macmillan

The Extraordinary Lives of Elise Bowerman and Chrystal Macmillan: barristers and feminists

  • 21 June 2021 7-8:30pm

Chrystal Macmillan and Elsie Bowerman were both born during Queen Victoria’s reign. At this time, girls’ access to education was substandard, women were barred from a number of careers considered ‘unfeminine’, and all women and many men could not vote. By the time of their deaths, many of these gendered barriers to success had been challenged and broken down.

This talk will investigate the extraordinary lives of both women, from their achievements of educational firsts, to their activism during the votes for women campaign, their wartime work, and their careers as early women barristers. In doing so, it will show the impact of their lifelong feminist activism.

Laura Noakes completed her PhD at the Open University. Her research examined the relationship between the women’s suffrage movement and early women lawyers through detailed contextual consideration of two women: Elsie Bowerman and Chrystal Macmillan. She now works as a Research Assistant at the Devil’s Porridge Museum.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/political-activists-and-professional-women-tickets-137412411221?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch

Great War Huts

Great War Huts: an accidental First World War heritage project

  • 26 July 2021 7-8:30pm

Taff Gillingham tells the story of hows the Great War Huts project came about and their work in saving and restoring a number of original First World War temporary wooden buildings from across the country, set against the context of the original hut-building programme of 1914-1919. Taff goes on to explain the museum and visitor centre plans for the future and the approach that they intend to take.



Taff Gillingham is a military historian and historical military advisor for film, television and theatre productions.

He co-owns Khaki Devil, a company specialising in the hire of uniforms, equipment, weapons and historical advice and is co-director of the Great War Huts project.

He has a background in film and television design and is a former trustee of The Suffolk Regiment Museum.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

FREE

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/great-war-huts-an-accidental-first-world-war-heritage-project-tickets-141732649169?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

Fur Coats and Overalls

Fur coats and Overalls: clothing and munitions workers in World War One

  • 23 August 2021 7-8:30pm

By 1917 the First World War was affecting the British Public’s morale but munition production reached its peak in this year.

Profiting from the war effort by company owners or female munition workers, in particular was discussed in vociferously disapproving tones.

Cartoons appeared in publications such as Punch ridiculing the class, manners and extravagant taste of those working in munition production.

Towards the end of the war when women were being ‘laid-off’ in favour of the returning soldiers editorials published in the Carlisle press described former munition workers attending employment offices dressed in fur coats.

This talk will discuss some of the illustrations and attitudes towards this group of working class women whilst considering whether their purchases did reflect a new financial security or if their future was actually more precarious.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fur-coats-and-overalls-clothing-and-munition-workers-in-world-war-one-tickets-142339345815?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

Parish Church Monument

The Lost Men of a Parish Our Lady & St Joseph's Heroes Remembered 1914 -18

  • 20 September 2021 7-9pm

Standing proudly in the grounds of Our Lady & St Joseph's Church, Carlisle is an 18ft White Marble Memorial bearing witness to the 75 men who fell in the Great War this was our starting point. Little was known of those men, not a sheet of paper could be traced anywhere, some of whom are remembered without their Christian name or initials. Who were they? Where were they from? How old were they? Were they married? Where and how did they fall?

Following four years of dedicated research, the authors' have been able to painstakingly trace the lives 73 of these lost men all of whom made the supreme sacrifice for their King and country far from home. This book has traced their parents, siblings, careers and sadly the last few days leading to their loss.

Men who came from all walks of life, three made new lives in Canada and Australia, heard the call of duty of the mother country to which they returned to don Khaki. Poignant moments when the Parish Priest announces the loss of a Parishioner to his congregation. The sad letters home, the telegrams that didn't arrive, the lost and precious belongings that didn't make it. A son who was only identified by his button, a father who waited for twelve months before his beloved son was traced, men who continue to share a grave. Men who still lie somewhere in foreign fields.

A printer, a farmer, a decorator, a mine owner, a future priest, a joiner, career soldier all are recorded as their young lives become know to us.

Seminarian Francis McNiff shot down over the English Chanel on his first flight; James Murray who was discharged, for ill discipline, from the navy then joined the Army using a false name; Arthur Henry was imprisoned for being underage, before being returned to Carlisle.

Many who died with their most precious possessions in their pockets.

These compelling personal stories, and how they were unravelled, are contained in over 80,000 words and over 200 illustrations and graphs and are the subject of Derek’s illustrated talk.

A ZOOM LINK FOR THIS ONLINE TALK WILL BE SENT ON THE DAY OF THE TALK

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

FREE

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-lost-men-of-a-parish-our-lady-st-josephs-heroes-remembered-1914-18-tickets-146313829603

Getting there

Easily accessible by car, situated just off the A75.
Nearest train stations are Annan and Gretna.

The Devil's Porridge Museum
Stansfield, Annan Road, Eastriggs
Annan
Dumfries
DG12 6TF
Scotland

Website

http://www.devilsporridge.org.uk

E-mail

info@devilsporridge.org.uk

Telephone

01461 700021

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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