Greenside lime kiln 480m west of Castle Howe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020923

Date first listed: 20-May-2003


Ordnance survey map of Greenside lime kiln 480m west of Castle Howe
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Kendal

National Grid Reference: SD 50755 92437


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

Reasons for Designation

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. Lime burning as an industry displays well-developed regional characteristics, borne out by the regional styles of East Anglia, West Gloucestershire or Derbyshire. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

Despite currently being somewhat overgrown by vegetation, Greenside lime kiln 480m west of Castle Howe survives well and is a good example of an 18th/19th century draw kiln. It is an important element in the development of Kendal's industrial revolution.


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


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of Greenside lime kiln in Kendal. It is located beside the north side of Greenside on the southern slopes of Kendal Fell and is the surviving one of three lime kilns, two of which have been demolished or are no longer visible, which are depicted on the partially revised 1912 Ordnance Survey map. The lime kiln is a two pot two draw hole type and was used to burn limestone. Typically the limestone was tipped into the kiln from the top then burned using wood, coal or coke as a fuel. The resultant quicklime, also known as birdlime or slaked lime, was then shovelled out from the draw hole at the bottom of the kiln. Lime has many uses including spreading on lime-deficient land to encourage plant growth, the whitewashing of walls and ceilings of buildings, and concrete and cement production.

The pots are circular and although infilled appear to be lined with refractory material. The draw holes are sheltered by a vaulted working area about 5m in width by 3m deep and about 3m high at the centre of the vault. The vault terminates about 1m above the ground at each side and is fronted by an arch of roughly worked voussoirs. The draw holes are constructed of firebrick and are virtually intact. The structure is built into rising ground and is constructed of limestone blocks that present sturdy walls, in places buttressed, to the east, south east and south. These rise about 1m above the level of the charging area around the pots. Originally the walls enclosed the whole charging area but have now been demolished to the north and west. Two associated buildings depicted on the 1912 map lying to the west of the pots have also been demolished although the buried remains of their foundations are expected to survive.

Although it is not known when lime burning commenced on Kendal Fell documentary sources dated to 1715 mention a Kiln Close in the vicinity, thus suggesting that the activity was operational by the early 18th century, probably on a small scale and using wood as a fuel. The opening of the Lancaster Canal in 1819 linked Kendal with the Bolton and Wigan coalfields, transforming Kendal's economy and leading to a large increase in population. The consequence was a building boom to meet the demands of new business premises and housing for the workforce, which in turn increased the demand for burned lime for builder's mortar. By 1829 six `Lime Masters' are known to have operated on Kendal Fell.

A timber fence across the entrance to the vault sheltering the draw holes is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 34994

Legacy System: RSM


Proposal to Schedule Greenside Limekiln, Kendal, (2002)

End of official listing