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Pontefract

Figure 81: Details of Fordham's Pontefract kiln (Pontefract Museum).

Pontefract Museum holds three unpublished photographs, taken prior to the demolition of Fordham's pipe factory c. 1950. The photographs show a kiln and chimney built against the end gable of a two storey building (Figure 80b); the kiln entrance from inside the factory (Figure 81b) and a detail of the fire box (Figure 81a). All of the dimensions quoted below are calculated from the brick courses clearly visible in the photographs.

The rectilinear kiln (Figure 80b) has vertical walls to a point about 1.8 metres (6 feet) above the ground (the same level as the door lintel in the gable wall). From this point three sides of the superstructure taper for nineteen courses, 1.7 metres (5 feet 8 inches). The fourth side is vertical against the gable wall. The taper continues at lesser angles for a further eight courses, 0.72 metres (2 feet 9 inches) from whence the two sides rise vertically to the top of the chimney. The outer face continues at an angle for a further 1.4 metres (4 feet 9 inches) then rises vertically. At its base the kiln is c 2.1 metres (7 feet) wide, probably square. The chimney measures 0.75 metres (2 feet 6 inches) by 0.5 metres (1 foot 8 inches), rises 1.8 metres above the roof ridge and is finished with a conventional chimney pot. The overall height from the ground to the top of the pot is c 9.4 metres (31 feet).

The second photograph (Figure 81b) shows the entrance into the kiln through the outer brick shell. At the bottom, the springer for the fire mouth arch can be clearly seen. The opening above this is in the shape of a key-hole with the first three bricks of the arch clearly visible. From the springer of the fire mouth arch to the top of the picture is approximately 2.34 metres (7 feet 8 inches). In side one of the transverse flues can be seen heavily encrusted with shiny slag. Above this the brickwork is slag free suggesting a lining has been removed. The picture shows no internal features.

The third photograph (Figure 81a) shows a cruciform arrangement of the fire box flues. All of the flue surfaces are covered with shiny slag. In the bottom of the transverse flue can be see slag covered debris, pipe stems and one bowl which have fallen into the firebox during the working life of the kiln. The single piece of material evidence, collected when the kiln was demolished (see catalogue PON1), is from the bed of this flue and includes the pipe bowl in the picture. This material from which the flue was constructed is a commercial fire brick. The single fire mouth with fire box beneath the chamber is consistent with known muffle kiln design rather than the open chambered types which began to be used in the later nineteenth century.


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