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Glen Lean Gunpowder Mill

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Further background material can be found on our page about the Argyll Gunpowder Industry.

See also the Argyll Mill pages

The Glen Lean Gunpowder Millwas located to the north of Dunoon, Argyll, and was also known as Clachaig.

In the late 19th century, the Argyll Gunpowder Industry was a major employer in the area. The mills required a good supplies of water and wood, to power their machinery, and provide a source of charcoal, together with access to the sea for transport of other raw materials and finished product, and a degree of remoteness in case of accident. All were locally available.

Production at Glen Lean is known to have begun around 1840, and continued into in the early years of the 20th century, although there is no precise date listed for the final closure of the mill.

Modern Clachaig, © http://www.geograph.org.uk/user/Fasgadh/
Modern Clachaig
© Richard Webb

The substantial ruins of the old village of Clachaig, and the mill workings, give an indication of the size of the venture. The village was built specifically to house the workers, and had cottages for the workers, a grand house for the manager, and various buildings devoted to production of the powder itself. The whole site was surrounded by a high wall for security. Explosions were a constant risk, and nothing made of steel or ferrous material was permitted on site. Tools were made of materials such as wood, brass, or copper, as were the worker's clogs.

Much of the site still remains in the form of substantial ruins, with some of the cottages having been restored. The village lies on the B836, a single track road connecting the A815 Sandbank/Dunoon road with the A886 Strachur/Colintraive road, providing a connection for the local bus service.

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