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11.1.4 Ground plans

It is clear from the ground plans illustrated in Chapter 8 that one type of kiln dominated the industry from the end of the seventeenth century until the middle years of the nineteenth. The plans are remarkably similar in many respects with a growth in size being the only significant change. This predominant kiln type featured a stoke pit and narrow flue/ash pit on the same level cut below the existing ground surface. The flue/ash pit is in the form of a channel penetrating the solid base of the kiln. Above the flue/ash pit in a vertical stack would have been the fire box followed by the firing chamber and finally the chimney. These kilns frequently survive to the base of the fire box. At Southwark, Portsmouth and Guilford kilns survived to midway up the fire box and at Lewes the outer shell only survives to mid way up the chimney. The evidence indicates that the majority of these kilns featured a muffle within the firing chamber, though it is possible that in later years some may have been converted from muffle to open flame kilns.

Of the structures illustrated, those from Southwark, Portsmouth, Guildford, St. Albans, Waterford (both kilns), Brentford, Canterbury, Manchester (both kilns), Lewes, and Leeds produced conclusive evidence that they housed a muffle. Those from Carlisle, Limerick, Leith, Nantgarw, and Broseley were open flame using saggars to contain and protect the pipes. At Boston evidence of both muffle and saggars was recovered.

With the exception of the late kiln at Leeds (post 1882 - Brears 1991, 3), all of the kilns utilising muffle technology are of single fire mouth type. It is possible that the kilns at Boston and Carlisle were built as muffle kilns and converted to use saggars, certainly at Boston the evidence suggests this. The remaining open flame kilns are all multi flue design following contemporary pottery practice. The dates for these kilns are generally late in the nineteenth century; Limerick 1881-93; Leith 1900-62; Williams states that Nantgarw is of mid nineteenth century date but does not give any evidence for this (Williams 1932, 116); The site at Broseley is only known to have been used for pipe production since 1881 and a kiln is shown, on a map of 1882, in the same position, as the one illustrated (Higgins et al 1988, 5). The Carlisle kiln is likely to have been built later than 1854.


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