Team Force Restoration repairs the iconic Beadnell Lime Kilns.

Three lime kilns the earliest built in 1789, are East of Beadnell Harbour. The Nation Trust raised concerns about the dangers of the structure, following the partial collapse of the most southerly kiln on the seaward side.


Three lime kilns, the earliest built in 1789, are at this site to the east of Beadnell Harbour.

By 1822 the kiln had fallen out of use and was used for curing herring. Limestone was burnt in lime kilns to make lime, which was used to improve the quality of soil. Lime from these kilns was sent to Scotland from the nearby harbour. They are now used by local fishermen to store lobster pots. They are Grade II Listed Buildings.

The lime kilns are random rubble local quarried lime stone with pink sandstone dressings. Interlocking but divided at ground level by vaulted tunnels. Each kiln has 3 large segmental drawing arches which decrease in size inwards. The most southerly kiln has partly collapsed on the seaward side.

Repairs to the iconic Beadnell lime kilns were planned after concerns were raised about the dangers of the structure, following the partial collapse of the most southerly kiln on the seaward side. Previous repair works of unknown date have been carried out to the kiln which involved the installation of reinforced concrete beams and a concrete slab ceiling to the front section of the tunnel.

The concrete is reinforced with beams, some of which are very close to the surface and have rusted causing the concrete to spall. Concerns over public safety resulted in the main beam and the concrete slab being propped and the area fenced off some time ago. However recently there have been growing concerns over the state of the rusting props and action needed to follow to save the kilns from further collapse.

The National Trust wish to carry out a permanent repair to the front beam and the concrete slab both for reasons of public safety and to enable this area to be opened up to the public.

Works were underway and the old props were carefully removed, this was a precarious exercise and safety was paramount. The new designed prop structure was carefully needled in above the existing concrete support and eventually the structure was fully propped so work could safely begin.

Two options were put forward for their repair with a decision to be made after further investigative digging works. If an inner support wall was found, a new concrete slab would be formed at high level before the area above was filled with new topsoil to match the existing appearance. The inner walls of the kilns would be cleaned, repointed and repaired. This option is preferred as it will reduce the loading on the external wall and remove any uncertainties relating to the existing construction.

After several days of investigative digging were complete no internal supporting wall was found therefore we had to turn to our second option. This option was dangerous as there was still potentially a lot of load bearing soil and a concrete slab on top of the kilns; these were to be left in place.

The old concrete lintel and the rusting steel sections were finally removed and three new stainless steel beams were put in place to fully support the kilns. The beams were painted to tone them down and are an honest repair. They are also a reminder that structural interventions have taken place; this is now an area that you can walk under with confidence.

Apart from the structural interventions we repointed the worst areas of the kiln walls, the mortar and in some cases had completely washed out. There were also other interventions like pinning and galleting to the stones, as well as new oak door and panelling to create a fisherman’s store within one of the drawing arches.

Project Details

  • Client: National Trust
  • Cost: £50,000
  • Duration: September 2014 - December 2014

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