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Report - - Cocking Limeworks 24.07.07 | Industrial Sites |

Report - Cocking Limeworks 24.07.07

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I was bored, the car failed it's MOT meaning my shiny Canon 400D has to wait for another month :mad: and I didn't want to do any work, so on the pretext of "a meeting" ;) I hopped back down to the limeworks with some "good sturdy shoes" and my daughter's crummy Olympus fe-100 :(

I did a bit of digging (historically) and came up with nothing other than that the Lime kilns were probably built around the turn of the last century by Lord Cowdray on the site of medieaval kilns, that they remain in the ownership of Cowdray Park (Cottages with yellow windows around Midhurst), and that Midhurst Whites made crap bricks.

I did find this about Lime production:
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries lime was one of the most wide spread non-food manufactured products. Although used in many different manufacturing processes, the two principal uses in Sussex were for agriculture and in building.

In agriculture lime was used as a "manure" on the heavy soils in order to make them more open and friable, to improve drainage and to make the land more easily worked to a good tilth.1 Lime is an essential plant food and its presence is essential in fair quantity to produce good crops. To correct soil acidity lime has a beneficial effect which converts the organic matter of the soil into soluble plant food.

Lime has been used in building since Roman times. Mortar for laying masonry was made by mixing lime with sand, and to make concrete the lime was mixed with an aggregate such as crushed or natural stone. Plaster had backing coats of a similar mix to mortar, with a neat setting coat of neat lime. Lime putty was used to set fine brickwork and masonry. Lime white is a mixture of lime and water and was used for whitening walls, the traditional "whitewash".

The material from which lime is derived is calcium carbonate (CaCO3) which occurs naturally in Sussex as limestone or chalk, although there are other sources throughout the world such as coral and shells. In Sussex, the most common source is chalk from the South Downs. Chalk from the Holywell Pits at Beachy Head was shipped in sloops to Bexhill, Rye and Hastings 2 but most was obtained from the north face of the Downs. The only limestone used in Sussex was Sussex marble, commonly known as "winkle stone" and extensively used decoratively, but this was mined by the Earl of Ashburnham.3 When calcium carbonate is burnt at a temperature of 900°C, carbon dioxide is driven off and the calcium oxide is left. (CaCO3 = CaO + CO2). This is known as quick lime due its violent reaction when mixed with water (slaking). The resultant product is calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) or slaked lime. For agricultural purposes the quick lime was applied directly onto the fields, but for building purposes the lime was slaked in large vats and stored for several months to mature. In use it is then mixed with sand to produce "course stuff" for mortar or rendering coats for plasters.

I know that the camera maketh not the photographer, but there really is a huge wealth of opportunity down there for someone with a modicum of ability and a bit better technology.

Anyway, it killed a couple of hours and I had fun :D

The main part is just off the road, but this building is a little more difficult to get into


Once inside it is soo worth it :D there's conveyors and electric stuff everywhere..... and completely unchavved



All the switchgear remains in place


Even if some of it is a little overgrown


I loved the erosion in the chalk dust that had remained unchanged for over 15 years


Overhead conveyors





Big Motors




I even went up the first big scary staircase and was able to see down into the storage bins


Though I drew the line at these steps as it was a 25 foot drop and the "newness had gone out of them"


Down a couple of levels and the rejects conveyor


Which has this underneath :thumb


Unfortunately it went no further than you can see, but exciting for a while. I dropped over the edge to discover that all this is held up by this :eek: and the recent rain has started it moving again


Wandered round to the kilns again

"Mites go up, tights come down"



Quality chav art, and my car!



Which I had to drive of course :D