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Brockham Lime Works: lime kilns and hearthstone mine

A Scheduled Monument in Brockham, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2457 / 51°14'44"N

Longitude: -0.2844 / 0°17'3"W

OS Eastings: 519842.806411

OS Northings: 151012.396867

OS Grid: TQ198510

Mapcode National: GBR HGD.T2X

Mapcode Global: VHGS2.1Y0F

Entry Name: Brockham Lime Works: lime kilns and hearthstone mine

Scheduled Date: 24 February 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021322

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22780

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Brockham

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Headley with Box Hill

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes the remains of Brockham Lime Works, situated in the
Brockham Hills on the south side of the North Downs. Chalk quarrying took
place here for many years before becoming established on a larger scale,
with associated lime-burning, in the mid-19th century, following the
opening of the South Eastern Railway between Redhill and Reigate in 1849.
Elsdon, Swan and Day constructed a standard-gauge railway siding at the
quarry in 1867, and in 1875 they joined with Arthur Batchelar and Henry
Roebuck Fenton to form the Brockham Brick Company Limited. The company
operated a brickworks and hearthstone mine immediately to the south east
of the limeworks. In 1878 Alfred Bishop became secretary and manager of
the company, which took over the lime works in about 1881 and extended its
hearthstone-mining activity beneath the lime works yard, chalk pits and
spoil tips. In 1889 Bishop patented a design for a continuously burning
lime kiln, known as the `Brockham patent' kiln, and most of the existing
flare kilns at the works were correspondingly modified. The brick works
were closed in 1910 but the lime works continued in operation under the
Brockham Lime and Hearthstone Comany Limited, later a subsidiary of the
Dorking Greystone Lime Company Limited. In 1925 mining ceased and in 1936
the lime works finally closed. Much of the equipment and machinery was
removed from the site during World War II. While the brick works were
demolished and the former clay pits flooded, the lime works and associated
buildings remained largely standing. From 1962 until 1979 the buildings
were occupied by a narrow-gauge railway museum, now at the Amberley Chalk
Pits Museum in West Sussex. The site is now part of a local nature

The remains of the lime works include an eastern battery of eight kilns,
which is Listed Grade II, and a western battery of two kilns. Adjacent to
these buildings are the remains of associated platforms and railways by
which chalk was delivered to the kilns from the quarries on the north, and
fuel was brought and quicklime carried out via the main line on the south.
In the area between the two batteries is a brick-lined shaft to the
hearthstone mine together with associated below-ground workings. All of
these features are included within the scheduled area. The standing
remains of other structures associated with the limeworks, such as the
possible lime bagging building, storage building and engine shed in the
south western part of the limeworks site, are not considered to be
appropriately managed through scheduling and are therefore not included in
the scheduled area.

The eastern battery takes the form of a rectangular brick structure
aligned approximately north-south and containing a row of eight kilns
arranged in pairs. The back, or east side, of the battery is built into a
steep slope which has been progressively raised in height since the kilns
were first built. The original arrangement, dating from about 1870, is for
four pairs of flare kilns with a raised earthen bank behind, by which
chalk was loaded near the top. The kiln pots of the original flare kilns,
as represented by the southernmost four, are oval in plan, and are joined
in pairs with each pair having a central access tunnel reached through an
arched opening on the western side. The tunnels served as shelter for the
limeburners and their equipment, for loading fuel and unloading quicklime;
there is one iron coal loading door and one brick draw-arch at the base of
each pot. Some pots also feature another coal door at a higher level, fed
from the rear. Each kiln also has a trench grate, for drawing off ash, and
a pair of air intakes, all enclosed within a larger arch on the west side.
The west face of the battery thus has the appearance of an arcade of
round-headed arches, composed of eight large arches interjected with four
smaller ones.

The modification of the four northernmost flare kilns to the Brockham
patent involved the narrowing of the top and bottom of each kiln pot,
resulting in a corresponding increase in height of about 2m. Above the rim
of each pot was a brick chimney tower of circular plan, conical below with
a narrower neck (bottle-shaped). Part of the chimney of the northernmost
kiln still survives. The conical part of the tower served as a pre-heating
zone for the chalk, which was loaded through a large door in the side of
the chimney. Around the rim of the pot was added a series of vertical iron
chutes through which coke or coal dust was fed directly into the firing
chamber below. At ground level the quicklime was drawn off through a
single draw-hole in the west side of each kiln, in the same face as the
grate; the large arches on the northern half of the battery's west front
therefore feature a single large draw-arch in place of the earlier pair of
air holes. As a consequence of this arrangement, the coal doors and
draw-holes in the central access tunnels were no longer required and were
blocked off.

The provision of both charge and fuel at the upper level of the kiln
necessitated the construction of a much higher bank to the rear, upon
which a railway line from the quarry was carried, supported by a revetment
of timber and stone. The bank and its revetment still survive, although
only fragmentary remains of the railway track remain. Also at the upper
level, immediately adjacent to the north of the battery, is a raised
platform for fuel storage. The platform survives although the elevator
which formerly lifted the fuel up from the railway siding below is no
longer evident. At ground level the railway tracks have also been removed,
but the adjacent platform survives along the west front of the battery.
This platform was formerly covered with a lean-to which provided shelter
for the newly extracted quicklime as it was loaded onto wagons at the

The western battery is also a rectangular brick structure, aligned
approximately north-south, but containing only one pair of lime kilns. The
back, or west side, of the battery is built into a steep slope which was
artificially raised up in about 1889 when the flare kilns were adapted to
the Brockham patent. The kilns are thought to have formerly been largely
free-standing, accessible from both the east and west sides, and joined by
a central access tunnel on the eastern side. The kiln pots are now partly
infilled, and the front wall of the southern kiln has fallen away, but one
of the draw-arches is still evident. The remains of coal doors may also
survive as blocked features in the side or rear of the kiln pots. When the
kilns were adapted to the Brockham patent a large earthen bank was raised
around the south and west sides of the battery, creating a large concrete
platform at the upper level, retained by a high wall with later iron
supports. The south part of the platform probably served as a coal storage
area while the west part formerly supported a railway bringing chalk from
the quarry on the north. The bottle-shaped chimneys of the Brockham patent
no longer survive, but the lower parts of the adjacent coal chutes are
still visible. As at the eastern battery, the kilns were served by a
railway siding and platform, sheltered by a lean-to which is no longer

In the area between the two batteries is a brick-lined shaft associated
with the hearthstone mine which was extended beneath the limeworks in
1881. The mine was closed in 1898 but reopened in 1904, remaining in use
until its final closure in 1925. The shaft still gives access to a length
of mine passage, now partly collapsed. The winding gear and crane which
formerly lifted the hearthstone through the shaft are no longer evident.

A number of feature are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the
modern additions to the eastern battery, which include iron grilles and
concrete capping erected for safety purposes and to make some of the
tunnel and kiln interiors suitable for bat hibernation, the iron grille
cover to the mineshaft and the interpretation boards. All the structures
to which these features are attached, as well as the ground beneath are,
however, included.

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

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
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 standing remains of the two batteries of lime kilns at Brockham
survive in remarkably good condition. They represent a unique survival of
two important 19th-century lime kiln types, the flare kiln and the
Brockham-patent kiln. As the type-site for the Brockham-patent kiln, the
history and development of the kilns here is both well-documented and
well-understood. The patent was internationally known and influenced the
development of lime kilns worldwide.

Surviving examples of Brockham-patent kilns are relatively rare and these
are believed to be the best-preserved examples. Whilst the eastern battery
survives largely intact, the partial deterioration of the western battery
has revealed some structural details and, as a result of partial
infilling, buried remains within the kiln structure will survive
relatively undisturbed. The association of the lime works with a
contemporary hearthstone mine and chalk quarries will preserve evidence
for the development of the industrial complex through the 19th and 20th
centuries, and earlier. Situated in a local nature reserve on the course
of the Pilgrims Way, the monument also serves as an important educational
and aesthetic asset within these amenities.

Source: Historic England

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