Cement Kilns



  • Grid reference: TL6087068452
  • x=560870
  • y=268452
  • 52°17'26"N; 0°21'32"E
  • Civil Parish: Burwell, Cambridgeshire

Clinker manufacture operational: 1892-1932

Approximate total clinker production: 240,000 tonnes

Raw materials: Chalk Marl (West Melbury Marly Chalk Formation: 97-100 Ma) from pit at 560800,268550. It seems likely that Grey Chalk (Zig-zag Chalk Formation: 94-97 Ma) - perhaps lime works rejects - was also brought by rail from Burwell village after 1904.

Ownership: R. Stephenson and Son

The company had a lime plant in Burwell village at 559160,266150. A new marl pit was opened at 560800,268550 in around 1899 and a single bottle kiln was installed for making cement, burning as-dug marl. In around 1901, a Schneider kiln was built, and a further three were added around 1904: Davis gave its output at 250 t/week in 1907 . Its capacity apparently continued at this level until closure. Robert Stephenson, who had multiple interests in the area, died in 1929. Various sources suggest the plant closed in 1926 (the last directory reference) but it is clear that the plant was still operating at the time of Stephenson’s death. The plant was originally isolated, but acquired a spur of the Great Eastern railway by 1901. BPCM acquired the chalk land as part of the reserves of the Norman plant, but never exploited it. The Ordnance Survey map labels the quarry as a clay pit, but it certainly produced chalk marl. The plant site appears to be a scrap yard, with overgrown ruins. The marl pit is flooded.

No rotary kilns were installed.

Sources: Cook, p 103: Jackson, pp 274, 299

© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 14/02/2011: last edit 26/02/2017.

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Old Maps

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year
Burwell clinker capacity

Stephenson's Burwell cement plant 1918
Picture: ©The Cambridgeshire Collection. This shows the plant some time before 1920, viewed from the southwest. The plant can be seen as a cut-down version of the Saxon plant. In the foreground are cement stores. In the centre is the Smidth drier, with raw marl elevator in front. Behind those are the four Schneider kilns, and to the right is the engine house and raw- and finish-mill buildings.