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Meal Bank Quarry Hoffmann kiln, quarry and lime works

A Scheduled Monument in Ingleton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.157 / 54°9'25"N

Longitude: -2.4645 / 2°27'52"W

OS Eastings: 369765.302203

OS Northings: 473569.640845

OS Grid: SD697735

Mapcode National: GBR CN7C.7K

Mapcode Global: WH94Y.3SQ0

Entry Name: Meal Bank Quarry Hoffmann kiln, quarry and lime works

Scheduled Date: 28 January 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020889

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35474

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ingleton

Built-Up Area: Ingleton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ingleton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes buried, earthwork and standing remains of the 19th century industrial lime extraction and production site at Meal Bank to the north of Ingleton. Included in the monument are remains of a rare horizontal ring lime kiln known as a Hoffmann kiln and associated quarry workings, spoil heaps, tramways, mineral railway and further operational structures.

The monument is located on the western part of the Yoredale Series of Carboniferous Limestone. There has been widespread extraction and processing of limestone in the Ingleton area since medieval times when it was used for improving soil, for the manufacture of mortar and plaster and as a building material. Lime workings expanded in the late 18th century in the western Dales and documentary references from the late 18th and early 19th centuries attest to the extent of lime operations in Ingleton. The earliest known workings at Meal Bank itself are lime kilns and lime quarries clearly depicted on the 1846 Ordnance Survey (OS) map although it is not yet known how long these workings had been in existence. These kilns were likely to be the draw kiln type and were located to the north and east of the currently surviving kiln. Although there are no visible traces of these early kilns, remains may be preserved below ground. In 1864 the existing lime workings were taken over by John Clark and Michael Wilson who were lessees of the Giggleswick Limeworks. In the 1850s they had acquired rights to the patent for a new design of kiln known as a Hoffmann kiln after its designer Friedrich Hoffmann. The Hoffmann kiln was a horizontal ring kiln originally developed for brick making but soon applied to the lime industry which it revolutionised by enabling the large scale, continuous, production of lime. In 1868 work commenced building such a kiln at Meal Bank and the works were operated under the name of the Ingleborough Patent Lime Works. This Hoffmann kiln is thought to be one of the earliest examples of its application in the lime industry built in England. By 1872 production and demand had both increased dramatically and Clark and Wilson expanded their operations by acquiring the lease for a new lime works at Langcliffe some 20km to the south east. At the same time the company was reformed as the Craven Lime Company. In 1893 the Meal Bank kiln was extended to increase production to meet the ever increasing demand. In 1892 a railway line 0.5km in length was built which linked the works directly to the Ingleton branch of the London and North Western Railway and thence to the national rail network. By replacing the horse and cart as the means of transporting materials to and from the works it was estimated that the company could double its output. The Meal Bank lime works continued in use into the 20th century and
finally ceased operations in 1909.

The core of the lime works was the Hoffmann kiln, significant remains of which still survive intact. It is a stone built structure, rectangular in plan with semicircular short ends. The outer face slopes steeply inwards and is pierced by regularly spaced entrances. A vaulted tunnel extends in a ring around the inside of the walls and the central area contains a long narrow vaulted space known as a smoke chamber. To work the kiln, crushed limestone was brought through the entrances and stacked in the tunnel and coal was tipped between the stacks from feeder holes through the roof of the kiln. The mixture was then burned with the draught entering via the entrances and the rate and intensity of burn being controlled by a series of dampers operated from the top of the kiln. The resultant fume collected in the smoke chamber and was subsequently vented through a flue to a chimney. The kiln's chambers were fired sequentially with two fires slowly advancing around the circuit formed by the vaulted tunnel, each fire burning 2-3 stacks every few days depending on the weather conditions and the quality of the lime. New stone was loaded ahead of the burn and burnt lime unloaded behind it allowing continuous production even whilst repairs were being made to the kiln. The kiln was built in two distinct phases. The original kiln measured 47.6m east to west by 24m north to south and had 14 brick lined entrances. It was extended eastward in 1893 to give a final length of 70m and a total of 18 entrances. The kiln stood approximately 4.5m high. Around the edge of the kiln was a platform 3m wide. This was for a tram road which carried limestone from the quarry to be loaded into the kiln. On the outside of the tramway is a stone lined channel cut lower than the base of the kiln. This was a railway dock where wagons would stand in order to collect the processed lime prior to removal from the works. The flue emerged from the kiln at the lower north side and extended up the hillside to the north for 65m. The flue was set into a channel dug into the hillside and was originally capped with a concrete cover. It can be identified along all its length although it has collapsed in places. The chimney at the end of the flue has been demolished and now only a rubble pile remains. The coal was stored on a wide platform supported by a retaining wall located partway up the slope to the north of the kiln and at the same level as its top. From here it could be barrowed on wooden bridges onto the kiln top and fed into the coal chutes. The coal store was accessed by an incline from the west which carried a tramway. Both the incline and its retaining wall survive. On the top of the kiln there was a roof which afforded protection to the workers employed in feeding the coal chutes and operating the dampers. Remains of the wall, which supported this, survive along sections of the top edge of the kiln. Also on the kiln top are the stone footings for a small building, which was for the use of workers. Since the cessation of works the kiln has deteriorated and is now a partly ruined structure. Except for the eastern end the outer walls are broadly intact. Parts of the tunnel and smoke chamber have collapsed, however the main structural and operational elements can still be recognised and significant remains of the internal features survive.

The limestone used in the works was extracted from quarries lying to the east of the kiln. The current quarry face represents the last phase of operations. It survives as a south and south east facing cliff face measuring approximately 400m in length. The quarry floor at the base of the cliff is 100m wide and contains the remains of stone-lined drainage channels. The quarry was worked by blasting the exposed rock face. Instead of drilling, powder was inserted into natural crevices in the quarry face. The explosives used for the blasting were stored in powder houses. These are thought to have been located at NGRs SD69957371 and SD69427360. At these locations there are ruined structures situated close to the river and some distance from the works in order to avoid any wider damage in the event of explosions, which was unfortunately an all too common occurrence. The resultant material was sorted, crushed and graded on the quarry floor to produce limestone for burning. This probably took place at the south western part of the quarry floor where there are remains of a complex of stone built buildings including what has been interpreted as a rock cut wheel pit for a water wheel. The waste material generated at the quarry was piled up primarily on the southern side of the quarry floor into long linear piles extending along the northern bank of the river. These spoil tips still survive as a substantial grass covered bank up to 45m wide and 3m high extending along the length of the river bank from the northern tip of the quarry as far as the kiln. For most of its length the spoil tip is retained by a stone revetment wall up to 2m high on the northern, works side. A further area of spoil tips lie at the western edge of the quarry where again the spoil was carefully managed with retaining walls. Another smaller area of quarrying is located to the north of the kiln. This is thought to be associated with the earlier, pre-1860 lime workings. The movement of materials, (raw stone, limestone and waste etc.) around the workings was undertaken by a tramway. This was continually expanding and changing as the quarry face retreated and the distances to be travelled increased. A map of 1907 when the workings were at their largest shows the tramway extending through the centre of the quarry floor past the crushing plant and along the side of the linear spoil tip. The line of this clearly survives as a narrow level strip following the edge of the linear spoil tip. At the western end of this tram-way there are ridges across its line indicating the presence of buried sleepers.

With the construction of the rail link in 1892 a depot was built to the west of the kiln. The 1907 OS map shows five sidings feeding off the line. The line entered the depot through a short tunnel some 40m in length. The western tunnel portal has been bricked up and the eastern still remains open. Further to the west there are the remains of the embankment which carried the line to its connection with the main rail network. This is not included in the monument. Within the depot are three roofed standing buildings which were part of the depot complex. One is now in domestic occupation, but was originally an engine shed set at the end of a railway siding shown on the 1907 map. The small single storey rectangular building with fireplace and chimney was the weigh-house and office controlling the outgoing railway wagons. The two storey building is thought to have been used for storage and as a workshop. Throughout the monument are remains of further stone buildings and walls associated with the works. These survive as low stone walls and earthworks. A complex of such ruined structures is located next to the tramway at NGR SD69667346 where at least four buildings, one with a small fireplace and chimney, survive as ruins. Whilst there is currently no precise interpretation for these and the other unidentified ruined structures, some of these will undoubtedly relate to the stables and workshops for the carpenters, masons and smiths who were recorded as being employed at the works in 1896.

A number of features are excluded from the monument. These include Meal Bank Bungalow (the former engine shed) and its water tank cistern and pipe work, the other two roofed buildings, the wooden Scout hut, the surface of the former rail depot and all gates and fences. The ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 09/05/2012

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. Lime burning as an industry displays well-developed regional characteristics, borne out by the regional styles of East Anglia, West Gloucestershire or Derbyshire. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

The Meal Bank lime works is an important site in the history of the development of the lime industry because it includes the earliest surviving example of a Hoffmann kiln built to produce lime. The wider lime works at Meal Bank demonstrate clearly how the site operated as a well-organised and managed operation. Remains of all the major functions of the works survive well and although the kiln itself is partly ruined, its form and manner of operation can be clearly understood. As a whole the monument demonstrates the development and working method of an industrial scale lime works and as such is important for the history not just of lime works but of a regionally important industry.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Trueman, M R G , The Langcliffe Quarry Limeworks Settle, (1989)
Trueman, M R G, Quatermaine, J, Meal Bank Quarry and Hoffman Kiln Ingleton North Yorkshire, (1993)
Trueman, M R G, Quatermaine, J, Meal Bank Quarry and Hoffman Kiln Ingleton North Yorkshire, (1993)
Trueman, M R G, Quatermaine, J, Meal Bank Quarry and Hoffman Kiln Ingleton North Yorkshire, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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