SK 361239? Complex of limekilns of early 19th century date near the Ticknall tramway (SMR 27109). Two horseshoes of 8 kilns each were constructed into the tramway embankment. (1)
There are still four sets of intermittent limekilns along the Ashby Canal and its tramways. The largest and best preserved set are in the quarries at Ticknall where there are fourteen, some in very good condition. (2)
To the east of Ticknall village are the lime workings associated with the Ticknall Tramway. Within the quarry area, both sides of the road, are to be found extensive limestone workings. The quarry contains lime kiln remains, and at one point two groups of kilns were built into the tramway embankment. (3)
The 1836 OS map names the Lime Works, served by the 'Ashby Railway' (4). The 1887 map also names the Lime Works, and shows them surrounded by quarries and served by what is named as a Tramway. (5) Later OS maps of 1901 and 1924 show 'Lime Works (Disused)' and 'Old Quarries', indicating they had gone out of use by that time. Some were partly water-filled (6, 7)
The limekilns were not visible on available air photographs because they were masked by trees. (8) This area has been extensively documented and surveyed because it represents a unique lime burning complex that has been active since the eighteenth century. However, all that could be seen on the air photographs available was water-filled hollows (lime quarries) in the area centred SK35962390. (9)
The Harpur Crewe estate, now the property of the National Trust, possesses what is probably the largest concentration of lime-kilns in Great Britain. Sir Henry Harpur was able to finance, from the lime and kiln rents derived from the commercial lime burners, the landscaping of the Calke Pleasure Gardens and expansion of the park during the second half of the 18th century. He was able to secure lime for the estate and for the use of his farming tenants by erecting communal kilns in one of the Ticknall yards. During the second half of the 19th century, the expansion of the park up to the south edge of the lime-yards curtailed further lime burning activity. By about 1900, commercial quarrying and burning had more or less ceased, leaving intact a quarried landscape retaining evidence of a unique lime burning complex. Within these quarries must be one of the largest concentrations of intermittent lime-kilns in Britain, some dating back to the late 18th century. The evidence is integrated with the remains of the early 19th century tramway (see SMR 27109) built by the Ashby Canal Company as a means of transporting Ticknall lime to a growing regional market. The comprehensive nature of the evidence means that a clear picture can be gained of the way in which the lime-yards were quarried, drained of floodwater and developed into a number of subcomplexes, each based on a kiln group, but interconnected with the tramway as a common thread. In addition, the Ticknall industry is particularly well-documented by the Harpur Crew papers which record nearly 500 years of lime burning history. It has therefore been possible both to reconstruct the history of the lime-yards and to relate the documentary and physical evidence. The National Trust has undertaken a joint survey with the Leicestershire Industrial History Society to record the quarried landscape and the features within the landscape. Selective excavation of kilns in the yards has enabled the construction of a typology for the late 18th and 19th centuries. (10)
In December 2008 the National Trust commissioned a survey of the Calke Abbey Limeyards and Brickyards in order both to provide an updated record of the area and to inform future conservation and management of this exceptional industrial landscape. The lime quarrying and lime burning activity at Calke Abbey is believed to have origins in the medieval period, with documentary references to lime burning as early as the 15th century. The limeyards and brickyards there also provide an exceptional example of a fully integrated industrial landscape of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Both had become largely disused by the later 19th/early 20th century, although at least two lime kilns were still in use in the 1930s, providing building materials to the Calke Estate and other large country estates in the area.