Gretna - A Munitions Town

30 October 2012
imports_CESC_0-dewul9vi-100000_68106.jpg Gretna - A Munitions Town
Gretna: A Munitions Town is a new publication which tells the story of Gretna's wartime munitions factory. ...

Gretna: A Munitions Town is a new publication which tells the story of Gretna's wartime munitions factory. The booklet shows how a war time decision to build a factory to meet a shortage of artillery shells led to a frantic building programme to house workers in 1915. The results were remarkable – a complete town for 20,000 people, constructed in two years with a harmonious architectural style unique in Scotland.

A tangible reminder of how people aspired to live in the early part of the 20th century, Gretna today is home to a thriving community. Masterminded by one of Britain’s most influential town planners, Raymond Unwin, the town’s streets and buildings form a lasting legacy, characterised by terraced and semi-detached houses, all in red brick. Some of the most significant buildings have been awarded listed status.

Archaeology in Gretna

Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Listing and Designed Landscapes at Historic Scotland, said: 'Gretna was planned as a complete entity, with houses, shops, school, hospital, police station, churches, cinema and other recreational facilities.

'Many of the buildings have interesting architectural details. Some houses have large chimney stacks, a variety of window shapes and prominent gables. The public buildings too are striking, especially the churches. The Church of Scotland has a tall, Italianate square tower, while the former Roman Catholic Church has an unusual Byzantine design in red brick.

'Historic Scotland has recognised the importance of these buildings, by listing several at categories B and C. Offering a new approach to urban planning, with self-contained communities, good housing and attractive open spaces, the pattern set at Gretna was to continue in the building of new towns elsewhere in Scotland.'

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To download the free booklet Gretna: A Munitions Town, visit the Historic Scotland website.

(Image: Anvil Hall, the former St Ninian’s Roman Catholic Church, captures elements of Byzantine architecture in its brick-built structure - copyright Historic Scotland)

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