Foulridge Limekiln

We moored just across from the Foulridge Lime Kiln. Today the Kiln looks almost like it did when it was first built.

On the site there’s a sign, explaining the kiln’s history, with a drawing showing how lime was created.

Copies from the sign:

The Kiln probably dates to between 1790 and 1796 when the local section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was constructed. Enormous quantities of lime were required to make the lime mortar used in the building of the canal locks, wharves, ridges, tunnels and reservoirs, and for the clay lining to the canal bottom.

The Kiln is one of two built at either end of the Foulridge Tunnel, doubtless by the navvies engaged by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Company.

In the early days limestone came from Lothersdale by ‘Lime Gals’ (Galloway ponies) via Black Lane Ends. Other limestone carries from Skipton and the Craven area came via the old packhorse track at Tuber Hill. When the canal opened supplies came came from Barnoldswick where a branch was constructed from the main line of the canal into the Rainhall quarry so that limescale could be loaded directly into the barges from the working faces.

The nearest coal seam was at Marsden (Nelson) but with the rough track and steep hill to traverse, a pair of heavy cart horses would do well to transport a ton of coal a day. After 1796 it was easier, and cheaper to bring coal from Burnley by canal.

The opening of the waterway saw an expansion of neighbouring villages and towns which led to an ever increasing demand for lime. As well as being used in mortar for building, lime was used for plastering and in the form of a lime-wash to waterproof walls and lighten interiors, in agriculture as a soil improver and in the preparation of hides.

The Kiln was capable of continuous production and appears to have operated until the late 1860s when the Rainhall quarry closed.

Coal and limestone layers were dropped from the top into the kiln.

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