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DHBT Architecture Awards - Minninglow Lime Kiln

DHBT Architecture Awards 2023

Restoration of an historic garden or landscape

Winner: Minninglow Lime Kiln

Architect: Evans Vettori Architects

Client: Mark Edge

The Grade II Listed Minninglow Lime Kiln was built in the early 19th century, circa 1828-1830, nearby to Minninglow Hill. The limekiln now sits within a rolling agricultural landscape and at the southern end of a significant stone built embankment, constructed for the High Peak Railway.

The Lime Kiln was built to supply the Cromford and High Peak Railway (completed in 1831), where it cuts into the hillside adjacent to what is now known as the Tissington Trail.

Similar to other kilns, Minninglow Lime Kiln was built from limestone in drystone construction and set into a slope, which allowed it to be loaded from above, with an open arch at its base where the burnt lime was removed. The provision of lime mortar contributed to the construction of the raised embankment which bridged the valley for the railway to cross.

Minninglow Lime Kiln was one of the hundreds of kilns built during the construction of the railway, yet, it is only one of two kilns remaining within the historic landscape – as well the only existing listed kiln. After investigation, it was concluded that the limekiln was designed to be used multiple times as a Draw Kiln – Draw Kilns are differentiated from other kilns by the alternative layers of fuel and stone which were burnt continuously whilst more material was loaded from the top, with an additional fixed grate over the hearth where limestone was stacked above.

In December 2019, there was a partial collapse of the retaining front section of the kiln. The scheme became the sensitive repair and total reconstruction of this historic limekiln, in order to secure its longevity within the local, rural landscape. Reinstatement of the stones that make up the front elevation were replicated as near to pre-December 2019 arrangement as possible, from the available photographic evidence collected.

The external shell construction was formed by random limestone rubble stonework with irregular coursing and through pinning stones, prior to its collapse.

The process began with the hand picking and removal of the loose pile of fallen stones, which allowed for the identification of stones within the front retaining wall section using historic imagery. Pieces from the arched draughting tunnel were found intact, easily identified as they were grit instead of rubble carboniferous limestone.

Stones were carefully dismantled and hand-picked from the rubble, graded and cleaned of old mortar dabs and vegetation before the construction of the front rubble wall began, tapering in height with a 1.5-degree batter.

Before and after photographs

To prevent the Lime Kiln from another collapse and to ensure its place in the local landscape, stainless steel ties were fitted along the bed joint, and a channel was formed from the existing kiln backfill material to direct water out of the front opening of the natural drainage gulley. The dressed stone slate capping to the front retaining wall was restored, and covered by a soft earth wall capping also protects the kiln from weathering.

To fund the project, the landowner sought grant-aid from the ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL)’ funding scheme. Assistance with the grant application and associated administration of the successful grant award was provided by Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA).

Before - collapsed - during construction - fully restored

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