Wall Art and Photo Gifts from Royal Cornwall Museum
Limekiln, Quay Street, Lostwithiel, Cornwall. 1980
A general view of the limekiln. The Grade II listed limekiln is thought to date from the early-mid 19th century. Building work is underway and the store and office to the left are being converted into a house. The kiln in the photograph is termed a draw kiln, usually of stone structure. The chalk or limestone was layered with wood, coal or coke and lit. As it burned through, lime was extracted from the bottom of the kiln, through the draw hole. These are the three arches to the right of the houses being converted. The kilns were loaded at the top and access to load was usually by a ramped track or, as in this case, probably just a track as the kilns are built into the side of rising ground at the rear. Early on, the coal and lime stone would be delivered to the harbour by ship, but as the industrial revolution and and railways spread it is likely that coal and lime stone arrived by rail. Kilns made 25-30 tonnes of lime in a batch. Typically the kiln took a day to load, three days to fire, two days to cool and a day to unload, so a one-week turnaround was normal. Because it is so readily made by heating limestone, lime must have been known from the earliest times and all early civilisations used it in building mortars and as a stabiliser in mud renders and floors. Knowledge of its value in agriculture is also ancient, but agricultural use only became widely possible when the use of coal lowered the cost. Photographer: Charles Woolf
TRURI : LOStn.12
Media ID 18842327
© RIC, photographer Charles Woolf
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