Clinker manufacture operational: 1870-1928
Approximate total clinker production: 2.5 million tonnes
Before the BPCM acquisition, this was known as Wouldham Hall Works. Peters had been making hydraulic lime at the site, and 18 lime kilns remained throughout. Cement manufacture began with wet process bottle kilns, numbering 24 by 1879, making 720 t/week. These were replaced with Batchelor chamber kilns in the mid-1880s, still giving 720 t/week. During 1888-1889, a further nine chamber kilns were added, bringing total capacity to 990 t/week. Also during the 1890s, two 18-chamber Hoffman rings were installed, but appear to have been used only for lime. During 1898-1899, 17 more chamber kilns (510 t/week) were installed. In 1903 three Schneider kilns (330 t/week) burning surplus dryings were installed, bringing the total capacity close to Davis’ 1907 value of 1850 t/week . To install the rotary kilns, the first chamber kiln block was demolished, and the remaining chamber kilns were only used up to 1915. Most were removed, but the last six remained in commission until closure, although these were only used during 1919-1922. Operations were combined with West Kent by BPCM with only the Peters rotary kilns running right through WWI. There was no railway link, and the building of Holborough nearby finally squeezed the west bank plants out. After closure, the rotary kilns were moved to Crown and Quarry and Shoreham. The plant also made perhaps 50,000 tonnes a year of grey and white lime, and this may have continued for some time after the cement plant closed – the bottle and Hoffman kilns remained in place into the 1960s. The site was gradually cleared, the last buildings having been removed only recently, but much of the foundations are still visible. The quarry remains waste. See Wouldham Village website.
Two rotary kilns were installed:
Operated: ?5/1913 - 1928
© Dylan Moore 2011: last edit 13/08/15.
Picture courtesy of Maidstone Museum and Benlif Art Gallery. The waterfront of the plant around 1910, from the northwest. In the foreground are probably bunkers for fuel. The first bank of chamber kilns was immediately behind, and two of its three stacks are visible. Further to the right is the long range of bottle kilns for lime, and the stacks at far right are those of the Hoffman kilns, also probably for lime.