Lees

Lees Logo The Lee's Brand used 1900-1911.

Location:

  • Grid reference: TQ707633
  • x=570700
  • y=163300
  • 51°20'35"N; 0°27'4"E
  • Civil Parish: Halling, Kent: the pits straddled the boundary between Halling and Snodland parishes.

Clinker manufacture operational: 1854-1915, 1918-1925

Approximate total clinker production: 2.2 million tonnes

Raw materials:

  • Upper (Lewes Nodular Chalk Formation: 88-90 Ma) and Middle Chalk (New Pit Chalk Formation: 90-92 Ma) from 568700,163600
  • Middle Chalk (Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation: 92-94 Ma) and Grey Chalk (Zig-zag Chalk Formation: 94-97 Ma) from 569100,163600
  • Chalk Marl (West Melbury Marly Chalk Formation: 97-100 Ma) from 569600,163500

Ownership:

  • 1854-1900 Lee, Son and Smith
  • 1900-1911 William Lee, Son and Co. Ltd
  • 1911-1925 BPCM (Blue Circle)

The plant originally made white and grey lime, but commenced making Portland cement in 1854. By 1868, 10 wet process bottle kilns were in operation (300 t/week). Nine more (270 t/week) were built during 1872-1876, four more (120 t/week) during 1879-1882, and a further six (180 t/week) during 1886-1891 so the total capacity was 870 t/week in 1895, ~14 MJ/kg. In 1900, the plant was described as having two 28 ft washmills, 29 settling backs, 36,000 ft2 of drying flats, 29 cement kilns and 47 lime kilns. During 1899-1903 the plant was progressively converted to Schneider kiln production, with eleven kilns making 1750 t/week, 9.35 MJ/kg. A further kiln was added in 1908, bringing capacity to 1900 t/week in 1913. Its operations were combined with those of the adjacent Halling Manor after 1911. Capacity was 1600 t/week (10 kilns?) in 1924. The site had 250 m of wharf and two docks on the Medway, but also had a rail link from the inception of the Medway Valley line in 1856, thus enjoying flexible transportation throughout its life. The plant remained formally open until 1930, but does not seem to have produced after 1925. The site was cleared and is now mostly waste land in which a few insignificant remains are visible. The quarries are also waste.

No rotary kilns were installed.


Sources: Eve, p 26: Francis, pp 181-183: Jackson, p 285: Preston, pp 72, 171-172: Pugh, p 266