Portrait of a Mystery Ruin – So that’s what it is !


I’ve been tormenting you for a week  with the mystery ruin ( I do hope you’re still following and haven’t deserted me in disgust! ) Now here’s the reveal..

The photos won’t help you a bit.. they didn’t help me when I was taking them so I had to do some research when I came home and that’s further down the page.

You can see by the size of the sheep that the towers are huge and it was a bit scary being right under them looking up for some of the shots because of the crumblingness!



This site was Wakerly iron ore Quarries in Northamptonshire and the “towers” are actually Calcining kilns and were believed to have been built by prisoners-of-war during the first world war, around 1918

Calcining Kiln – “A kiln where the heating process got rid of water, volatile substances and sulphur from the raw material ironstone in metal smelting”

It’s reckoned that the kilns were never actually used and the 2 on the right that look ruined were only ever half-built.   The site changed hands several times in the decade of the 1910’s. A railway siding runs just behind these kilns and on site are the ruins of 2 tipping docks ( or tipplers) which I believe used gravity to load the ironstone into the railway wagons. The railway ran between Peterborough and Market Harborough but the ore was destined for Manchester.

What’s unusual is that when the works were closed in the early 1920’s the buildings were left standing when the normal practice at the time would have been to restore the land to how it was before the building, with just the signs of the quarrying remaining. It’s thought that these may be the only surviving kilns of this type in the UK.

So mystery over ? well not exactly because I still have no idea how it actually worked !!    If you do please feel free to tell us all in your comments.

David alias Bananabatman got it by suggesting a kiln of some sort earlier in the week.. well done David 🙂


Back from my holiday later today and looking forward to trying to catch up with all my favourite blogs..sorry for neglecting them .. 


You can see my other “Portrait of ‘s ” here and here and here !! 

.and if you’d like to you can read my other blog 1500 Saturdays here  


15 thoughts on “Portrait of a Mystery Ruin – So that’s what it is !

  1. I nearly drove past it Sallyann because it was quite a way from the road but the glimpse of it was enough to make me turn back to get another look… I was on my way home from photographing the Harringworth Viaduct and was really tireed but just had to photograph it.. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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