Clinker manufacture operational: 1921 - 1981
Approximate total clinker production: 13.7 million tonnes (30th)
Often called Melton Works. An independent public company, including Maxted and Knott as shareholders, was launched in 1917 to construct this plant. Costs escalated during construction and although the kilns got under way in a faltering manner, the company was wound up in July 1924, the plant having been bought by BPCM and placed under the control of G & T Earle . The article in The Engineer of March 1924 describes the plant in glowing terms and with the kilns making 170 t/day, but large parts of the plant were still under construction. In a “trial run” it was said that “the output of the kilns was so much above the guarantee that the makers (i.e. Edgar Allen) were entitled to a large bonus”. Nonetheless, the plant was radically redesigned in the early years of Blue Circle’s ownership, and the contract for the originally-projected third kiln went to Vickers, while the contract for Earle’s new plant at Hope went to FLS.
Because of planning constraints on the height, the original kiln stacks were only 75 ft high, and induced draught fans were therefore provided from the outset: the plant appears to have been the first to have these. A single 200 ft stack replaced all three short stacks when precipitators were later installed, the neighbourhood having been inundated in dust for several years causing the planning authority to revise their rules.
The kilns were fitted with slurry sprays during the 1930s, but these were removed before the end of the decade, chain systems having been found to be more effective for heat exchange.
The addition of the Niro spray-drier to A3 in 1973 was designed to improve heat exchange, yielding higher output and lower fuel consumption. Slurry was fed to the spray drier, heated by kiln exhaust gas, and entered the kiln in the form of particles around 150 μm in size. Its ability to increase output was limited by pick-up of dust and fume from the kiln at slightly increased gas flow-rates. This was exacerbated by the use of the kiln for re-cycling of the dust of all three kilns, at a time when the dust losses of the other two kilns were rising. This led to an extraordinarily high alkali and sulfate load. The kiln was occasionally fed with dust alone.
The plant took over Blue Circle’s production of sulfate resisting clinker in the North on the closure of Wilmington in 1969, and by 1979 was making 100% SR. Because of the low silica ratio of the clay, a large addition of sand had to be made, and this led to higher kiln dust losses and fuel consumption, and somewhat lower output.
The whiting plant continued in operation after the cement plant’s closure. In 1989, the Blue Circle industrial minerals division was sold to Croxton and Garry (now Omya UK) and the production of ground calcium carbonate continues. The plant had a small jetty on the Humber, but all heavy transport was by rail, using the LNER Hull main line. The cement plant site was gradually cleared, and various structures, including the cement silos, remained until recently. It has now been cleared, except for the original office building.
Please contact me with any relevant information or corrections. I am particularly interested in firmer dates and statistics.
Three rotary kilns were installed:
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise.
Cooler: rotary beneath firing floor: 58’0” × 6’0” (metric 17.68 × 1.829)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anti-clockwise.
Typical Output: 1922-1932 185 t/d: 1932-1937 233 t/d: 1937-1946 238 t/d: 1946-1951 254 t/d: 1951-1957 271 t/d: 1957-1974 274 t/d: 1974-1980 263 t/d
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise.
Cooler: rotary beneath firing floor 60'0" × 6'3¾" (metric 18.29 × 1.924)
Sources: Cook, pp 65-66: Jackson, pp 231, 282: Pugh, pp 83, 264: “A new cement works on the Humber”, The Engineer, CXXXVII, March 28, 1924, pp 326-328, 336; April 4, 1924, pp 358-360; April 11, 1924, pp 392-394
© Dylan Moore 2011: last edit 23/01/16.
Picture: ©English Heritage - NMR Aerofilms Collection. Britain from Above reference number EPW016199.
Britain from Above features some of the oldest and most valuable images of the Aerofilms Collection, a unique and important archive of aerial photographs. You can download images, share memories, and add information. By the end of the project in 2014, 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 will be available online.
This was taken in July 1926 and shows the plant from the northwest. The taller, common stack had not yet been built, and Kiln 3 had been plumbed into Kiln 2's stack. View in High Definition.
This was taken in September 1932 and shows the plant from the southeast with the common stack in place. View in High Definition.
Picture: Peter Ellis. This shows the cold end of Kiln A3 in 1978, viewed from the southwest. Hot gases from the kiln were ducted upwards into the spray drier chamber, into which slurry was run. The drier instantly dried the slurry into particles about 0.2 mm in diameter, which dropped into the kiln. The gas, cooled to 180°C, passed out through cyclones. The elevator and conveyor to the right returned the dust from all three kilns to Kiln A3 feed chute.
Picture: ©NERC : British Geological Survey Cat. No. P222393. This is the chalk quarry, viewed from the east in 1972. The conical chalk store can be seen in the centre, with most of the slurry preparation and whiting plant out of sight in the valley bottom. The dazzling high-purity chalk was ideal for efficient white cement manufacture. It is still used to make whiting.