In 1866 Francis and Co. negotiated a lease from the earl of Darnley for 10 acres of chalk at the Quarry, with the right to put in kilns or buildings.
The works were built in the quarry already existing for the Cliffe Creek Whiting Works and comprised a range of kilns together with large covered buildings (mill block), served by a network of tramways, linking the site with both the Cliffe Creek works and the Nine Elms Works adjacent to Cliffe Fort. An engine house was also constructed, although no trace of this now exists. Several groups of associated buildings were also built at this time, including two ranges of workers’ cottages and a building called ‘Tram Cottage’. By 1908, the mill block had expanded and a bank of nine bottle kilns built in the northern part of the site. The site appears to have remained in use into the 1920s – by 1939, map evidence clearly shows a disused site with most of the infrastructure demolished, apart from the mill block. A small concrete ‘locker’ survives from the quarrying phase, perhaps a former explosives store.


by Jim Preston (with additions by Richard James), Courtesy: RSPB/ASE

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