Cement Kilns

Cliffe

Location:

  • Grid reference: TQ72107568
  • x=572100
  • y=175680
  • 51°27'14"N; 0°28'38"E
  • Civil Parish: Cliffe, Kent

Clinker manufacture operational: 7/1914-25/1/1970

Approximate total clinker production: 10.7 million tonnes (38th)

Raw materials:

  • Upper Chalk (Seaford Chalk Formation: 85-88 Ma) from nearby quarry at 572700,175600
  • Alluvial Clay from pits at 571300,176000

Ownership:

  • 1912-7/1934 Thames Portland Cement Co. (a subsidiary of Broad & Co)
  • 7/1934-1949 Alpha Cement Co. Ltd
  • 1949-1970 APCM (Blue Circle)

The plant was sometimes known as Thames Works, as was that of Gibbs and Co [see Thames (W Thurrock)]. Alpha called it Thames Works, but confusingly also referred to it as Rochester Works. The company was launched by builders’ merchants Broad and Co., as with British Standard, to escape the dictatorship of the Blue Circle monopoly. Although undoubtedly a very shaky operation, it escaped takeover by Red Triangle, but was bought by Alpha, who, as at other plants, installed calcinators which were subsequently removed by Blue Circle. There was for most of the plant's history no rail link, and the plant relied largely on river transport. A substantial part of the plant's output was shipped to Scotland. A short branch rail line was extended to the plant in 1961, and trains to Uddingston, near Glasgow, began.

Because of the vast reserves of alluvium in the Cliffe marshes, it supplied many of the other Thames plants with this, using water transport. Cliffe clay suffered the disadvantage of relatively high salinity, which caused problems for kiln electrostatic precipitators. Following closure, the site was largely cleared, and is now occupied by a Brett Aggregates materials processing facility.

Washmills

Clay was washmilled at the clay field and the slip was pumped to the plant where it was washmilled with chalk in a coarse and a fine washmill.

Four rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: Ernest Newell
Operated: 7/1914-1936
Process: Wet
Location: hot end 572076,175641: cold end 572118,175685: hot end enclosed.
Dimensions: 202’0”× 10’0”B / 8’6”CD (metric 61.57 × 3.048 / 2.591)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?°
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×2591: 1981×2591: 3429×3048: 15621×3048: 17069×2591: 61570×2591: Tyres at 1372, 17678, 36576, 54102
Cooler: rotary 80’6”× 6’4” (metric 24.54 × 1.930) beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×2078: 775×2078: 6039×1930: 24536×1930: Tyres at 3810, 18745
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: ?indirect: ball mill
Exhaust: direct to stack.
Typical Output: 1914-1920 144 t/d: 1920-1936 163 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1914-1920 8.28 MJ/kg: 1920-1936 8.14 MJ/kg


Kiln A2(=B2)

Supplier: Ernest Newell
Operated: 1924-03/01/1970
Process: Wet: a calcinator was added in 1936 and removed in 1957
Location: hot end 572070,175647: cold end 572113,175690: hot end enclosed.
Dimensions: 200’0”× 9’10”B / 9’0”CD (metric 60.96 × 2.997 / 2.743)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?°
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×2661: 3226×2661: 5004×2997: 14910×2997: 16129×2743: 60960×2743: Tyres at 2134, 17221, 35204, 53797.
Cooler: rotary 68’0”× 7’5”/ 6’4” (metric 21.16×2.261/1.930) beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×1803: 1219×2261: 5182×2261: 6248×1930: 20726×1930: Tyres at 3854, 14675.
Fuel: Coal, except 1961-1968 Oil
Coal Mill: Indirect: Tirax ball mill, later operated direct.
Exhaust: direct to stack. A fan and cyclones were added after the calcinator in 1936. Two APCM "Unit" electrostatic precipitators were added after the fan in the 1960s.
Typical Output: 1924-1930 188 t/d: 1930-1936 241 t/d: 1936-1957 232 t/d: 1957-1961 254 t/d: 1961-1968 246 t/d: 1968-1970 222 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1924-1930 8.11 MJ/kg: 1930-1936 7.82 MJ/kg: 1936-1957 7.09 MJ/kg: 1957-1961 8.05 MJ/kg: 1961-1970 8.50 MJ/kg


Kiln B1

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 1938-1969
Process: Wet: originally with calcinator, removed in 1957
Location: hot end 572076,175641: cold end 572118,175685: hot end enclosed.
Dimensions, metric:

  • 1938-1957 61.37×3.600B/3.300CD
  • 1957-1970 61.37×3.600B/3.048CD

Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile:

  • 1938-1957 0×3600: 30220×3600: 32455×3300: 61365×3300: tyres at 8517, 19887, 36057, 53127: turning gear at 34239
  • 1957-1970 0×3600: 30220×3600: 32410×3048: 61366×3048: tyres at 8509, 19888, 36068, 53137: turning gear at 34239

Cooler: FLS bucket grate
Fuel: Coal, except 1961-1968 Oil
Coal Mill: Indirect: Tirax ball mill, later operated direct.
Exhaust: the calcinator was followed by fan and cyclones. Two APCM "Unit" electrostatic precipitators were added after the fan in the 1960s.
Typical Output: 1938-1957 359 t/d: 1957-1961 318 t/d: 1961-1968 321 t/d: 1968-1969 268 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1938-1957 7.41 MJ/kg: 1957-1961 8.36 MJ/kg: 1961-1968 8.85 MJ/kg: 1968-1969 8.75 MJ/kg


Kiln B3

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 1936-25/01/1970
Process: Wet
Location: hot end 572063,175652: cold end 572133,175724: hot end enclosed.
Dimensions:

  • 1936-9/1953 (from cooler ports) 99.00 × 3.000B / 2.850C / 3.300D
  • 9/1953-1970 100.12 × 3.000B / 2.850C / 3.300D

Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile:

  • 1936-9/1953 (from cooler ports) -2200×3000: 25719×3000: 27369×2850: 62100×2850: 63981×3300: 97712×3300: 97712×2850: 99000×2850: tyres at 1776, 14373, 31392, 50898, 71220, 89508: turning gear at 34932
  • 9/1953-1970 0×3000: 26839×3000: 28489×2850: 63220×2850: 65101×3300: 98832×3300: 98832×2850: 100120×2850: tyres at 2896, 15493, 32512, 52018, 72340, 90628: turning gear at 36052

Cooler: 1936-9/1953 Unax planetary 11 × 6.30 × 1.200: 9/1953-1970 Fuller 733S grate: 10° slope.
Fuel: Coal, except 1961-1968 Oil
Coal Mill: originally indirect: Tirax ball mill. Replaced in the 1950s with 2 direct firing Atritors.
Exhaust: originally ID fan followed by a Lodge Cotterell electrostatic precipitator. This was replaced with two APCM "Unit" precipitators in the 1960s.
Typical Output: 1936-1953 382 t/d: 1953-1961 407 t/d: 1961-1968 387 t/d: 1968-1970 360 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1936-1953 6.88 MJ/kg: 1953-1961 6.93 MJ/kg: 1961-1968 7.23 MJ/kg: 1968-1970 7.58 MJ/kg



Sources: Cook, pp 61, 75: Eve, p 21: Jackson, pp 218, 276, 300: Preston, p 174: Pugh, pp 262-263: The manufacture of Portland cement by the rotary process (brochure), Broad’s Blackfriar Brand Portland Cement, 1920: J. M. Preston, Cliffe Industrial Landscape, unpublished, date?


© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 24/01/2011: last edit 28/02/2017.

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Old Maps

Blue Circle Cliffe cement plant layout map

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year
Cliffe clinker capacity


Alpha Cliffe cement plant 1938
Picture: Crown Copyright 1938: British Geological Survey Cat. No. P207776. This shows the plant viewed from the southeast in 1938.