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devils porridge museum

The Twitchers Museum Adventure poster with a photo of four Twitchers books. The Kids in Museum's and Walker Books logos also feature.

The Twitchers Museum Adventure

By Events

12th – 25th February 2024

Join birdwatching detectives the Twitchers and explore the beautiful birds and amazing animals in The Devil’s Porridge this February half-term. The Twitchers Museum Adventure from Kids in Museums and Walker Books celebrates the release of Feather, the fourth book in The Twitchers series from bestselling author M. G. Leonard. Find the birds and make your own pledge to protect wildlife. Complete the activity sheet to receive your Twitchers sticker!

Design your own bird or animal sidekick and share your drawing on Twitter/X or Instagram with the hashtag #TwitchersMuseumAdventure and tag @kidsinmuseums for a chance to win one of five bundles of all four books in The Twitchers series. Find out more on the Kids in Museums website:

Admission into The Devil’s Porridge Museum is required to take part in this activity.

Sheila Dalgleish.

Medals and more

By Collections blog

Finlay, a Duke of Edinburgh student has accessioned some recent donations to the Museum and done some research about their origins.  This is his blog…

ICI Powfoot.

In the Second World War the government were looking to disperse vital munitions factories across the country to protect them from the German Luftwaffe. They once again looked at the Solway Coast as an ideal place for a munitions factory. Just 5 miles from HM Factory Gretna, Powfoot was chosen as the place to build a new factory, ICI Powfoot.

Powfoot was chosen as a location for the factory as it was an isolated area of farmland with strong rail links and a good supply of water from the Solway Firth.

An aerial view of where ICI Powfoot was built

After being built in 1940 ICI Powfoot produced cordite, nitro-cellulose powder and, later on in the site high explosives and other chemicals were made. In charge of production was a team of local scientists.

At its peak ICI Powfoot employed over 4000 people, the majority of which were women attracted by the generous wages and the opportunity to help the war effort.

Working in a munitions factory did not come without danger, for example workers had to face the constant absorption of toxic chemicals that caused skin yellowing, hair and teeth loss. Explosions and fires also were a serious issue in Powfoot and many people were injured or killed in accidents.

Sheila Dalgleish, a 19 year old worker at Powfoot managed to tackle a dangerous fire that could have injured or even killed many people.  When the fire broke out in processing plant (an area in the factory where large amounts of cordite was processed and stored) everyone in the room evacuated, other than Sheila Dalgleish and Euphemia Lindsay. Together, they pulled the bags of cordite away from the fire, then they kept the flames under control with a fire hose until the fire department arrived.

A picture of Sheila Dalgleish.

Her actions then saved countless people’s lives. To thank her she was awarded the British Empire Medal for bravery by King George VI, and the ICI medal for bravery.


ICI medal for bravery awarded to Sheila Dalgleish



British Empire medal for bravery awarded to Sheila Dalgleish by King George VI


The front cover of a book titled "The Premier's Clarion Calls to Courage" with an illustration of Winston Churchill.

World War Two Donation to the Museum

By Collections blog

We don’t know much about this recently donated booklet. It was printed in 1941 and contains some of Churchills most inspiring speeches. It is pocket sized so could have been taken anywhere in World War Two. You can imagine soldiers, airmen, sailors, air raid wardens, ATS workers and anyone involved in the war either in service or in the public reading it to raise their morale in their darkest hours. We hope this pamphlet brought the courage it was intended to stir and that you are enjoying reading it.

The booklet was made by a company called Valentine and Sons who were a printing company founded in Dundee in 1851 and grew to become Scotland’s leading manufacturer of picture postcards. The company was then purchased by John Waddington Limited in 1963 who then sold it to Hallmark Cards in 1980. Operations at the Dundee factory ceased in 1993.

The Devils Porridge Museum has two floors. The ground floor focuses on World War One and the first floor focuses on World War Two and the Cold War in our area. Hope you can visit us soon to explore both galleries. To find out more about what’s in the Museum before visiting check out the Guidebooks which we have in our shop:

Here are a couple of pages from the book below:

A large building with a blue sky.

Visit to World War One Gymnasium

By News

Judith, the Museum Manager and John, one of our Trustees had an interesting visit to Brampton in Cumbria on Monday.  John had heard on the grapevine that Brampton Community Centre was housed in an unusual historic building which it is said was the original Gymnasium for workers at HM Factory Gretna in World War One (the Devil’s Porridge Museum’s main focus is on this Factory and the 12,000 women who worked there).

Photos above show the inside of the main building today.

Judith and John managed to contact the people at the Centre and arrange for a guided visit.  The building is very impressive and certainly would have been an excellent gymnasium.  It is now used for woodwork and art classes.  The Devil’s Porridge duo were shown around by two representatives from Brampton and an interesting discussion took place about the building: where was it located in the War (Gretna?  Eastriggs?), when was it sold and transported to Brampton (1918?  1921?  1924?) and how was it transported?  We will continue to explore these ideas and see what our research yields.

Below: these photographs show the corridor and inside the rooms which are said to have been the changing rooms for the Gymnasium (you can still see a bench which ran around the edge of the room).

It certainly is a well preserved and interesting building as these photographs testify.  Our thanks to Brampton Community Centre for being so welcoming and helpful.

Below: this cupboard inside the building is certainly old, perhaps its lock will help us to date the building?

Below: photographs showing the building exterior including a photograph showing the building’s brick foundations.

Below: some photographs of the building’s interior.

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