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A smiling person dressed in a apron with a broom.

Photographs, tour and information about Eastriggs online

By News

Just over a year ago, Sheila Ruddick, who was the Museum’s Secretary and a Trustee for over twenty years, took a group of young people on a tour of Eastriggs.  She showed them all the sites she had researched over the years for her own interest, for the Museum and for the map she produced ‘Eastriggs: Commonwealth Walk Guide’ (which is available from the Museum online shop – see below).

The young people (and Judith, the Museum Manager) enjoyed their afternoon exploring Eastriggs and listening to all the things that Sheila had to say.  Sadly, it was not long after this that Sheila’s health declined and she passed away much to the sadness of all at the Museum.

Vancouver Road as shown in an Auction Book from 1924 (when the Factory and townships were sold).

In case you aren’t aware, Eastriggs was built in World War One to house workers at HM Factory Gretna.  It originally had a cinema, dance hall, fire station and other amenities such as hostels for the workers.  The township was built along garden city principles and is named ‘The Commonwealth Village’ because its street names reflect the global nature of the workforce in the Factory (people came from India, Australia, South Africa etc. to contribute to the war effort here).

The young people involved have been working on and off on this map project for a year (there have been lots of interruptions due to study leave, people going to university etc.) but we have finally got an online version of the map in a condition to share with you.

Snow on The Ridge. Date unknown.

You will find photographs and information online (155 posts in total) here:,-3.169917,11/bounds/54.828984,-3.34302,55.14151,-2.996814/paging/1/pin/1128318

On some photos, you can compare the historic images with the current google street view image.   The photos date from different decades and there is information relating to who lived in some of the houses too.

The Green, Eastriggs, still recognisable today, it was originally built in World War One to include shops, a bank, cinema and dairy.

This project is by no means complete – we find out more every day and we will continue to add it to this website.  Members of the public can also share their own photographs and information to create a hub of Eastriggs history.

This map is not quite perfect but please do bear in mind that it was made completely for free by our young volunteers.  The important thing is that we are making as much information available to the public as possible – hope you enjoy having a look through it!

You can buy a paper copy of Sheila’s map here:

Eastriggs Commonwealth Walk Guide

WW1 Bugle from Quintinshill

By Collections blog

 WW1 Bugle

This Bugle belonged to John Malone who died in the train crash at Quintinshill in 1915

At only 16, he was too young to go into active service at Gallipoli (the age limit was 17) but he was travelling as part of the regimental band which would play a musical farewell to the troops at Liverpool.

We have a display within The Devil’s Porridge Museum of objects and information relating to the Quintinshill rail disaster and in December (when the Museum was closed), we added two new objects to it. One is a seven foot long sign which formally stood at Gretna Green station and the other is a Signal Box showing the route of the trains involved in the fatal collision at Quintinshill at 6.49am on May 22nd 1915.

On that fateful day, a troop train carrying Royal Scots soldiers destined for Gallipoli collided with a stationary train at Quintinshill, near Gretna Green. Shortly after the crash the wreckage was struck by an express train from Carlisle, which sparked a catastrophic fire. This horrific accident killed at least 227 people and injured over 200; only seven officers and 57 soldiers survived the crash, of whom five went on to Gallipoli to face the machine guns of the entrenched Turks. This is still the worst rail disaster in British history.

Quintinshill Rail disaster

The Museum has several objects of significance connected to the Quintinshill rail disaster including a rifle which was bent out of shape by the heat of the fire. There are heart wrenching accounts of trapped soldiers in the train begging to be shot because of the excruciating pain caused by the flames.

We also have a nurse’s uniform from the time of the crash. Patients were taken to Dumfries and Carlisle Infirmaries and doctors came to the scene to help if they could. There are dozens of photographs in the Museum’s collection showing the wreckage and the crowds that came to help and gaze at the spectacle. Many of these were turned into postcards within days of the event such was the interest in it.

Nurses uniform

Another object we have is a bugle which belonged to John Malone. He was aged just 16 when he died in the train crash at Quintinshill. He was too young to go into active service but he was travelling on the train with the regimental band to play a musical farewell to the troops when they boarded their ship in Liverpool.

WW1 Bugle

New Objects on Display

By News

While the Museum was closed a couple of new items were added to the displays by our Vice Chairman Graham and our Secretary Neil these items are a Gretna Green sign which is above our Quintinshill display and a signal box which is placed on the wall before you enter the café showing the train routes for Quintinshill.

Signal Box

The Quintinshill rail disaster is the worst rail disaster in British history. It involved five trains and caused the deaths of over 229 soldiers. The crash was caused when a local train had been temporarily placed on the southbound mainline in the direct path of a troop train. at 6:55am, 21 carriages full of soldiers hurtled headlong into the stationary train.

Gretna Green sign at the Devils Porridge

The collision was so violent that the train, which had been 195 meters long, was compressed to just 61 meters. Minutes later with debris scattered all over the tracks the Northbound express from London approached Quintinshill. Weighing over 600 tonnes and travelling at full speed, it was powerless to stop and ploughed straight into the wreckage. The crash could be heard miles away. Within seconds a fire broke out and engulfed all three engines, of the 500 troops on board, fewer than 60 made it to roll-call the next day.

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