• Grid reference: SO99358894
  • x=399310
  • y=288740
  • 52°29'48"N; 2°0'42"W
  • Civil Parish: Oldbury, Worcestershire

Clinker manufacture operational: ?1886-?9/1917

Approximate total clinker production: 300,000 tonnes

Raw materials:

  • Calcium carbonate recovered from alkali waste in the chemical plant’s own spoil heaps at 399000,288800
  • Carboniferous Shale (Etruria Marl Formation: 307-313 Ma) from 398800,288800

Ownership: Chance and Hunt Ltd

The Oldbury Alkali Co. Ltd produced calcium carbonate as a by-product from the extraction of sulfur from calcium sulfide by the Chance process, in a plant immediately north of the cement plant. This was used with local brick clay to make cement.

According to Spackman, a highly calcareous clay was used in order to dilute the sulfate content of the waste carbonate. If this is the case, the source of the clay is unknown – it might well have been Warwickshire Blue Lias waste shale brought by canal. Spackman’s analysis of the cement, which was high in both alumina and sulfur, suggests that it might have been a sulfoaluminate.

Because it was a minor part of their business, details of operation period, precise location and process are vague. Butler implies that a wet process was used. The maps, which are the only evidence, imply that there was a block of six chamber kilns (say 120 t/week) and a pair of Schneider kilns (130 t/week). The latter must have been installed around 1900. Davis put the 1907 output at 250 t/week. A post-war picture shows eight Schneider kilns, so the capacity may have been extended to a total 640 t/week. The Leblanc alkali plant shut down in 1917 with the takeover by Brunner, Mond. The chemical works was in the heart of the Black Country canal network, with its own very substantial wharves and basin on the Wolverhampton Level of the Birmingham Canal. The site has been totally redeveloped, the chemical plant shutting down in 1964. The area in question is now a transport depot.

No rotary kilns were installed.

Sources: Francis, pp 243-244