Cement Kilns

West Kent

west kent LogoWest Kent Invicta Brand.


  • Grid reference: TQ71296234
  • x=571290
  • y=162340
  • 51°20'4"N; 0°27'32"E
  • Civil Parish: Burham, Kent

Clinker manufacture operational: 1877-1915, 1919-24/12/1925

Approximate total clinker production: 1.74 million tonnes

Raw Material: Grey Chalk (Zig-zag Chalk Formation: 94-97 Ma) and Chalk Marl (West Melbury Marly Chalk Formation: 97-100 Ma) from quarry at 572300,162400


  • 1877?-1885? West Kent Gault Brick and Cement Co. Ltd
  • 1885?-1911 West Kent Portland Cement Co. Ltd
  • 1911-1926 BPCM (Blue Circle)

Also known as Millbay Works, Margett’s and (confusingly) Burham Works (to distinguish it from the company’s Aylesford plant). Hydraulic lime had been made at the site from an early date, and by 1869 there were thirteen lime kilns. Bricks were made at both this and the Aylesford site, but it was not until 1877 that Portland cement production began, with four chamber kilns making 125 t/week. The chamber kiln block was extended westwards in two sets of six (135 t/week each) in 1881 and 1888, then five (135 t/week) in 1893, and a final five (155 t/week) in 1899, bringing output to 685 t/week. The company was part of the APCM amalgamation in 1900, but dropped out and took an aggressively competitive position in the following decade. Two Schneider kilns (160 t/week) burning surplus dried slurry were added in 1900 and rotary kiln A1 in 1905. Davis’ 1907 capacity of 1250 t/week appears to exclude kilns A2 and A3 which were installed in 1906, although it may imply that the static kilns were considered decommissioned. A fourth kiln was already being installed at the time of the BPCM takeover, and the chamber kilns were decommissioned at this time. The plant’s operations were combined with the adjacent Peters by BPCM. The plant was closed during 1916-1918. Run during the brief boom of the early 1920s, the plant was closed in 1925 for Portland production, although it continued for a year in a pilot experiment to make calcium aluminate cement.

The site was cleared and left as waste land: much of the foundations and the rear walls of the chamber kilns are still visible. The quarry was acquired and operated by the paper industry, and is now being back-filled with paper industry waste.


Chalk and marl were milled together in a pair of washmills followed by screeners.

Four rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: ?Polysius
Operated: : ?06/1905-1915: 1919-1922
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions: metric 30.00 × 2.000
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: ?
Cooler: rotary beneath kiln
Cooler profile: ?
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: ?
Typical Output: 55 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 9.7 MJ/kg

Kiln A2

Operated: ?09/1906-1915: 1919-1922
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Identical in all other respects to A1

Kiln A3

Operated: ?09/1906-1915: 1919-1922
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Identical in all other respects to A1

Kiln A4

Supplier: FLS
Operated: ?12/1911 -1915: 1919-24/12/1925 (used for calcium aluminate cement production for a year after this)
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions: metric 50.00 × 2.700B / 2.400CD
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×1925: 700×1925: 700×2400: 2100×2400: 2100×2700: 9900×2700: 11925×2400: 50000×2400: Tyres at 1300, 13200, 27700, 44475.
Cooler: concentric rotary metric 9.50 × 1.050 / 1.650 beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×1200: 3640×1200: 3640×1050: 3920×1050: 3920×1650: 9500×1650: Tyre at 2150 with trunnion end bearing: Turning gear at tail end.
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: ?
Typical Output: 119 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1911-1915 9.3 MJ/kg: 1919-1922 8.1 MJ/kg

Sources: Eve, p 32: Francis, p 189: Jackson, p 302: Preston, pp 82, 171, 201

© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 07/08/2011: last edit 14/07/2017.

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Old Maps

A detail plan of the plant has been partially completed, but further progress is prevented by lack of information on the layout of the later plant.

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year
West Kent Capacity