Lime kilns in Selly Oak
Limestone was heated with coal in limekilns to produce lime for a variety of purposes
- To counteract soil acidity and improve
- To use in mortar for building
- As an industrial raw material
Although they are numerous in some parts of the country, lime kilns are very rare in Birmingham.
The map of 1828 below, shows five lime kilns in Selly Oak at the junction of Worcester and Dudley no. 2 canals, between the canal and Bristol Road. Two of these were destroyed when a railway was built over them later in the 19th century. The other three were buried under Goodman's timber yard. Excavations revealed that they were far better preserved than expected.
The kilns were built of unmortared brick. They were horseshoe shaped and probably had a bottle-shaped or domed top. There were remains of older and slightly larger kilns under two of them. Limestone and coal would have been brought along the canal from Dudley, carried up a ramp from the canal basin and emptied into the top of the kilns. The burnt lime was extracted through openings in the kilns at ground level.