Clinker manufacture operational: ?10/1907 to ?1/1929
Approximate total clinker production: 250,000 tonnes
Raw materials: quarry at 449450,219900 supplying (top to bottom):
Ownership: Oxford Portland Cement Co. Ltd
Sometimes called Washford Works. The quarry, like that of Oxford, was complex, and was probably operated in the same way. The plant seems to have been broadly similar to the well-documented Premier plant, with dry grinding of the raw materials. Davis' 1907 projected capacity of 350 t/week was perhaps an over-estimate based upon his own experience of dry process. The plant’s running times were generally below 80%, and were much lower in the early years. There was no rawmix blending at all. It was the last of the “old generation” dry process kilns to operate, and its demise in 1929 (Premier closed the previous year) left the British industry almost entirely wet process (with the exception of the slag-burning kilns in Scotland). The plant was replaced, with change of company name, by the Oxford plant 3 km away at Shipton on Cherwell. Although the Oxford and Birmingham railway was nearby, the plant never had a rail link: however it was on the Oxford Canal, and moved cement using a 10 barge fleet to Bletchington station 3km away. Minor structures are still visible. The site, including the quarry, is now a Local Nature Reserve and SSSI: it is of global importance for Jurassic mammalian fossils.
I received valuable information on this plant from Mr Eric F Freeman, who was the initial discoverer of the mammalian fossils in the quarry.
One 6 × 1.8 m Krupp tube mill ground materials previously dried in a rotary drier heated by power house furnace exhaust gas.
Dodsworth does not mention the drier, and implies that the heat was supplied to the mill. This was not possible with the technology of the time.
One rotary kiln was installed:
Supplier: Ernest Newell
Sources: Cook, pp 72-73: Francis, p 265: Jackson, p 284: Pugh, p 51: Charles Dodsworth, "The Early Years of the Oxford Cement Industry" in Industrial Archaeology, 9, 1972, pp 285-295: Vanadia S. Humphries, Kirtlington: An Oxfordshire Village, Biddles Ltd, 1986 ISBN 0-85033-584-1, Chapter 15.
© Dylan Moore 2011: last edit 06/08/2015.