Hidden History and Hard Work

A friend invited me along to see the work that enthusiastic volunteers from the Worcester, Birmingham and  Droitwich Canals Society, working with the Canal and River Trust, are doing to make secure and conserve the structure of the canalside lime kilns at Tardebigge, Worcestershire.

Tardebigge Church seen from the canal

Tardebigge Church seen from the canal

Tardebigge is known in the waterways world for having the longest flight of (30) locks in the UK, rising 220 feet.

The kilns are less well-known, apparently from the 18th century, and have been quite neglected for much of that time, to judge by their condition. Uncovered....

Lime is key to iron smelting processes, and it is a fertiliser. However, the importance of kilns such as these to the shaping of both the rural and industrial landscapes through the production of lime is something I’d certainly never known or considered.

Lime kiln

Lime kiln

Either or both of these uses would link this little, hitherto much overgrown spot in the Worcestershire countryside to the Industrial Revolution and the shaping of modern agriculture.

That the site is seeing the light of day again at all is primarily down to the enthusiasm and energy of small groups of volunteers…

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

…who will give up time on a chilly Sunday to wrestle with tree roots, weeds, decades of dumped rubbish embedded in muddy clay…

The detritus of decades

… in order that we might find out a little more about, and connect with, our past. 

Good on you!


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