Clinker manufacture operational: 1848-1899
Approximate total clinker production: 300,000 tonnes
Raw materials: Carboniferous Limestone and Shale or Clay. Joseph Aspdin said he used “limestone, such as that generally used for making or repairing roads”. Both Leeds and Wakefield are far distant from pure limestone outcrops and the local road stone was, and is, mainly Millstone Grit sandstone or Permian dolomite. How limestone of adequate quality would have been obtained is a mystery: the nearest limestone (from 1849, when the railway was opened) was at Bell Busk (389900,456600) around 70 km away. Railway communication with the quarries of the High Peak, which are somewhat nearer, began much later. It is distinctly possible that ballast chalk may have been used - whiting was being made at one time from Thames chalk nearby on the south side of the River Calder.
Ownership: Aspdin and Son Ltd
Joseph Aspdin began operations in Leeds in the early 1820s, and moved to Wakefield in 1825. His original Wakefield site was in Kirkgate, at 433780,420340. This urban site was compulsorily purchased in 1838 for the construction of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and Wakefield Kirkgate Station. The plant was relocated on an adjacent site (at 433870,420320) south of the railway land. William Aspdin departed for Rotherhithe in 1841, and his brother James took over management. The station was further extended in 1848, absorbing the second site, and the firm finally moved to the Ings Road site, which continued in operation beyond 1895. An advertisement in the Leeds Mercury (18/6/1853, p 1) said they had "just completed their new works". Although Joseph Aspdin held the patent for the original Portland cement dated 1824, and was manufacturing that product from some time before that in Leeds and elsewhere in Wakefield, the production of “true” Portland cement probably dates from the time of the relocation of the business to this site in 1848-1853. It is recorded that taller (and therefore hotter) bottle kilns were installed. There were five bottle kilns on the closed site. The site had no direct railway connection, but the main Wakefield goods depot was only 0.6 km away. The Calder Navigation canal was just beyond this. The company was wound up in 1904, but it seems that production ceased just before the turn of the century. It seems likely that capacity did not vary from about 150 t/week throughout the plant’s life. The structures of the site remained intact into the 1930s, but the site was eventually redeveloped and is now a supermarket car park.
No rotary kilns were installed.