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Monument record MDR7962 - Mount Pleasant Works (site of), Woodville

Type and Period (2)

  • (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2050 AD)
  • (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SK 3111 1846) Mount Pleasant Works (Fire Brick, Sanitary Pipe & Terra Cotta) named on the OS map of 1887. Tramways/railways (not named) connect works with Woodville Branch Railway. Clay pit (not named) at SK 3093 1867 depicted as earthworks. (1) Mount Pleasant Works named on the edition of 1925, as is the Mineral Railway which links the Works with Woodville Branch Railway and Clay Pit (named on map). (2-4) 'Works' named on the 1977 map. The site of the clay pit at SK 3093 1867 is depicted as a refuse/slag heap. (5) Site occupied by Dyson Refractories. The kilns are no longer extant, but most of the other works buildings seem to survive, though largely derelict. (6) John Knowles pottery was operating on this site in 1849. (7-9) The Mount Pleasant Works was established in 1849 by John Knowles, a railway contractor who, while constructing a tunnel between Castle Gresley and Moira, came across a band of fire clays and purchased an acre of the land in which they lay. On completion of the railway line in 1849 he constructed a kiln. Following the initial success of the business, further land was bought and the company expanded its wares. By 1870 there were two mills (Brick Mill and Pipe Mill) and c. 12 round kilns. By 1880 twenty kilns and a boiler plant are recorded and by 1900 the Pot Mill had been added to prepare fire clay for a new refractory works. In 1949 there were thirty-three round kilns, three rectangular kilns and two tunnel kilns. In 1969 the John Knowles Company was absorbed into Dyson Refractories Ltd. A walk-over survey on August 31 2000 found very little surviving above ground. Rapid assessment identified broken floors of drying sheds, the floor of a kiln, possibly a brick kiln, with twin tram tracks, bases of what were most probably beehive kilns, a large variety of different types of brick, and the remains of footings for numerous other buildings associated with the works. (10) Archaeological investigation was carried out on the site in December/January 2005/6 and the results assessed in conjunction with eye-witness accounts and with the John Knowles & Co archive which comprises a range of papers dating between 1853 and the 1970s. Structures recorded cover different phases of the company's growth and included a beehive kiln of possible 19th century date and a tunnel kiln of the 1930s. Two samples of each brick type found on site were recovered for the archive. (11)

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Map: OS. 1887. OS County series 1:10560, sheet Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE. Surveyed 1879-81, published 1887. 1:10560.
  • <2> Map: OS. 1902. OS County Series: 1:10560 Sheet Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE. Second edition 1902. 1:10560.
  • <3> Map: OS. 1925. OS County Series 1:10560. Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE Edition of 1925, revised 1920-1.
  • <4> Map: OS. 1938. OS County Series: 1:10560. Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE. Provisional edition, revision of 1920-1, with additions in 1938. 1:10560.
  • <5> Map: OS. 1977. OS:10000 1977.
  • <6> Index: Malone, S (RCHME). 1994. National Forest Project Index: UID 924111.
  • <7> Index: Andrew, W (RCHME). 1995. National Forest Project UID 924111.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Spavold, J.. 1981. Pits, Pots and People.
  • <9> Article in serial: Spavold, J. 1981. 'The sanitary pottery industries of South Derbyshire, 1840-1914', Industrial Archaeology Review. Volume 5, pp 143-154.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Archaeological Investigations (Hereford Archaeology). 2000. Archaeological Desk-Top Study, Woodville Woodlands.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Craddock-Bennett, L (Archaeological Investigations Ltd). 2008. John Knowles & Co., Mount Pleasant Works, Woodville Woodlands: Archaeological Investigation and History of the Works.



Grid reference Centred SK 31126 18386 (281m by 253m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR2542
  • EDR2544
  • EDR2543

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 8:37AM

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