Dryburn Lime Kiln - January 2017

19th January 2017

We have just issued our Dryburn lime kiln condition report to the Lowick Heritage Group. The group commissioned BBA to visit and survey the kiln and produce a condition report  with costings for repair. The group is seeking a grant for its repair and interpretation.

The kiln is in Northumberland and situated at the former Dryburn Quarry, just above Lowick. It is now disused but was once at the centre of a regionally important lime burning district. The kiln is at the edge of the limestone quarry (now infilled) and it would receive the limestone and mix it with coal in layers, to burn it to produce quicklime. This product was used in agriculture to improving soil fertility and in construction to make lime mortar. Quicklime also was used to accelerate decay and the quarry was in full scale production in 1882 after a serious outbreak of anthrax in cattle.

The kiln has 4 draw eyes, surrounding a circular stone lined pot, now collapsing. It also has a tunnel vault, against the quarry side to enable a 4th draw arch to be made and providing dry storage. The sides of the walls are tapered to strengthen the structure (as it is also in plan) and this means that apart from erosion to the top surfaces, and some land slippage to its sides, that the kiln is in relatively good shape.

We are also providing advice on access to it. There are a couple of options to form paths through light woodland to the kiln. If we can achieve the objective of opening the site to visitors, they will be able to enjoy a circular route that would provide access to the kiln via a nature walk, alongside the burn and with it hopefully, the opportunity to see demonstrations of the use of lime for buildings and agriculture.

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