Coke ovens at the southern end of Furnace Road


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019211

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Coke ovens at the southern end of Furnace Road
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019211 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 04:43:10.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Maryport

National Grid Reference: NY 03561 36293


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

Reasons for Designation

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000 coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. Coking is the process by which coal is heated or part burnt to remove volatile impurities and leave lumps of carbon known as coke. Originally this was conducted in open heaps, sometimes arranged on stone bases, but from the mid- 18th century purpose built ovens were employed. By the mid-19th century two main forms of coking oven had developed, the beehive and long oven, which are thought to have been operationally similar, differing only in shape. Coke ovens were typically built as long banks with many tens of ovens arranged in single or back to back rows, although stand alone ovens and short banks are also known. They typically survive as stone or brick structures, but earth- covered examples also exist. Later examples may also include remains of associated chimneys, condensers and tanks used to collect by-products. Coke ovens are most frequently found directly associated with coal mining sites, although they also occur at ironworks or next to transport features such as canal basins. Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. All surviving pre- 1815 ovens are considered to be of national importance and merit protection, as do all surviving examples of later non-beehive ovens. The survival of beehive ovens is more common nationally and a selection of the better preserved examples demonstrating the range of organisational layouts and regional spread is considered to merit protection.

The coke ovens at the south end of Furnace Road are considered to be the oldest in the country and possibly the world. Their form is unique, being quite different from the normal beehive type, and documentary evidence dated to 1783 refers to them as being a new design.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a bank of six mid-18th century coke ovens located at the southern end of Furnace Road in Maryport. These ovens were used to produce coke for the adjacent Netherhall blast furnace. A combination of limited excavation and documentary sources has shown that they were built some time after the blowing-in of the furnace in 1754 but before the final sale of the blast furnace in 1783. The ovens are constructed of dressed sandstone and lined with brick and are of an unusual non-beehive form. They are best described as rectangular barrel-vaulted form with an unloading door at the front base and a flue and/or loading chute at the rear top. The ovens differ from each other in minor detail and some show evidence of alteration. On present knowledge these are considered to be the oldest coke ovens in Britain, and therefore probably in the world. The buried remains of a bench for the emptying of the ovens and loading of barrows is expected by the site excavator to survive on the hillslope immediately beneath the row of ovens, and this small area is also included within the scheduling. All modern stone retaining walls and a flight of wooden steps are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 32857

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cranstone, D, 'Journal of Historic Mining Society' in Early Coke Ovens: A Note, , Vol. 23/2, (1989), 120-1
Gale, D, The Old Maryport Blast Furnace, Unpublished excavation report
Letter to Dr. M. Nieke, Gale, D, (1988)

End of official listing