(The Commonwealth Village)
Dumfries and Galloway

©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland


A sizeable village on the Solway Firth coast of Dumfries and Galloway, Eastriggs is located midway between Annan and Gretna on the B721 road. The village was constructed 1916-18, initially as wooden huts to accommodate workers for the immense explosives plant HM Factory Gretna, but quickly laid out as a model village, complete with shops and other facilities. Built at the same time as Gretna, the architects were the same - Raymond Unwin and Courtenay Crickmer - although the housing was not of the same quality. Street names were drawn from cities and other notable places around the Empire, for example Durban Road, Melbourne Road, The Rand, Delhi Road and Ottawa Road, reflecting the nationalities of the 30,000 workers who came to work in the factory. Eastriggs has subsequently styled itself the Commonwealth Village.

The Devil's Porridge exhibition, located at the Daleside Equestrian Centre to the west of the village, explains the history of both the factory and the village. Other notable buildings includes the B-listed Episcopalian Church of St. John the Evangelist (1917), Baxter Memorial Hall (1930) and Eastriggs Community School (1987). The former Central Hall (1917) once sat 800 people and featured a fine pitch-pine ballroom floor which was salvaged during demolition and reused at Blackpool Tower. St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church, once so popular that some were forced to worship on the street outside, was demolished in the 1980s. Several of the hut-houses survive, although most have been extended and externally-rendered such that they are barely recognisable.

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