Site of Stoupe Brow alum works, 210m south east of Stoupe Bank Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018145

Date first listed: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Site of Stoupe Brow alum works, 210m south east of Stoupe Bank Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Fylingdales


National Grid Reference: NZ 95933 03210


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Alum is a chemical used principally in the textile industry for fixing dyes. It is not found in a natural state in Britain but can be manufactured from some types of shale. During the medieval period in Britain alum was imported, mostly from Italy. Domestic production began in the north of England in the early 17th century. The industry flourished in the north for 200 years until the mid-19th century when it was overtaken by new techniques using shale from coal mining, whilst after 1880 aluminium sulphate replaced alum for most industrial purposes. The last English aluminium works (at Goole) closed in 1950. Approximately 50 alum sites have been identified in England. Most were along the Cleveland and Yorkshire coast. Other early sites are known on the south coast, particularly in Dorset and Hampshire. Alum works comprise two main monument types: the quarry where extraction and initial processing took place, and the alum house where final processing took place. Alum shale was extracted from quarries sited on steep inland hillsides or coastal cliffs. Initial processing on the quarry floor consisted of calcination by burning shale in clamps, and the production in settling pits of alum liquor. The liquor was transported to processing works in sealed casks or through wooden channels known as liquor troughs. Larger quarries possessed inclines and haulage gear and sometimes harbour facilities. Stores, workshops and laboratories can also survive. Evidence of secondary industries such as epsom salts and iron silicates production is also preserved at alum works. The alum industry was the first chemical industry in Britain. Its quarries and works illustrate the early stages of the industry and the technological advances through the period known as the Industrial Revolution. The alum industry also offers important information about wider changes in social and economic conditions during this period. The large scale of the industry's workings also mean that its remains are today a major component of coastal landscapes. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of this class of monument, is considered to merit protection.

The alum works at Stoupe Brow survive well and significant archaeological remains are preserved. The monument offers important scope for the study of the development of the alum industry.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of an alum house and associated works. The monument is located in a broad gulley on the cliff edge 2km south of Robin Hood's Bay. The alum works were built on a series of level terraces. The stream flowing through the monument, known as the Slam Gutter, has been culverted along its entire length and runs beneath part of the works. It is thought that the flow of water was used in the alum processing. At the base of the gulley, over the Slam Gutter, are the earthwork remains of settling tanks and steeping pits. To the south and on a higher level are the remains of a rectangular alum house where roasting of the refined alum took place. Further to the south, above the gulley sides, is a sub circular tank or reservoir which stored water for use in the works. Elsewhere in the monument are further earthwork remains of structures associated with the alum works. The earthworks survive well and in some places stonework is exposed. Some raw materials and the finished product were transported to and from the site by water. The alum was extracted from shales quarried from the hillside 1km inland from the alum works. After initial processing at the quarry, material known as alum liqour was transported either through wooden channels or in casks to the alum works. The quarries and associated features and remains of workers cottages now incorporated into a farm are not included in the scheduling. The alum house operated from 1752 until the 1820s when it became uneconomic. Alum continued to be produced in the area until the mid-19th century when the whole of the alum industry in the north east ended.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29546

Legacy System: RSM


Marshall ,G, Plan of Stoupe Brow Alum House, (1991)

End of official listing