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China Clay Building Scale Drawings


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Hello everyone,

 

It's come to my attention that there is a general lack of information floating around on the internet, and in general, regarding the scale and size of the buildings used in the china clay industry. Since I have done a lot of research on this subject for my own purposes, I thought it would be useful to share with the rest of you some scale drawings I have made.

 

I will come back to this thread over time and keep adding new drawings.

 

The first image is a fairly standard, granite and brick built coal fired pan kiln. This drawing shows interior details, including furnace doors and travelling bridge with wagon, and the arrangement of the flues under the heated floor. Settling tanks, settling tank doors, and filter press house are all shown. This is a fairly standard length kiln at 300 feet, but could be realistically condensed to 200 feet in length. The chimney is a standard width and height, with iron bands bracing the brick upper section.

 

post-10374-0-16889200-1352851076_thumb.jpg

 

More to come, for now I hope this is useful to someone.

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Given the previous correspondence on here re detail of the generic dries (to which you and I have responded at various times) would it be possible for you to turn this drawing into a P D F attachment which folks can the look at in more detail to understand the working parts.

 

Wally

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Given the previous correspondence on here re detail of the generic dries (to which you and I have responded at various times) would it be possible for you to turn this drawing into a P D F attachment which folks can the look at in more detail to understand the working parts.

 

Wally

 

I can certainly try to do that, I'm not entirely sure whether that would fit within the minimum file size however.

If you click on the image above, you get a larger version, which shows more detail.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm hoping when the weather clears up that I will be able to head out to Burngullow West with a tapemeasure and notepad, as there is the intact remains of an unusually tiny (read: modelable) kiln building there. It doesn't appear on any maps until quite late, and it's construction is entirely concrete, so I can only assume that it was built with some haste to accomodate an increased output volume. This was probably an interrim solution before the feed got diverted to more modern mechanical drying plants. Burngullow West sidings closed shortly after this building was completed. I do believe it even shared a chimney with the neighbouring kiln, rather than having a stack of it's own. There is also a rather neat little standalone two storey clay bagging building, which was trackside and had loading doors for vans - another one I'd like to take some measurements of.

 

Once I've done this I'll post some more scale drawings here.

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I'm hoping when the weather clears up that I will be able to head out to Burngullow West with a tapemeasure and notepad, as there is the intact remains of an unusually tiny (read: modelable) kiln building there. It doesn't appear on any maps until quite late, and it's construction is entirely concrete, so I can only assume that it was built with some haste to accomodate an increased output volume. This was probably an interrim solution before the feed got diverted to more modern mechanical drying plants. Burngullow West sidings closed shortly after this building was completed. I do believe it even shared a chimney with the neighbouring kiln, rather than having a stack of it's own. There is also a rather neat little standalone two storey clay bagging building, which was trackside and had loading doors for vans - another one I'd like to take some measurements of.

 

Once I've done this I'll post some more scale drawings here.

 

Is that the Tehidy Minerals Cornish Kaolin siding? That siding apparently passed under the linhay in a tunnel and the wagons were loaded through chutes in the floor. I'm sure you know more?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

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Is that the Tehidy Minerals Cornish Kaolin siding? That siding apparently passed under the linhay in a tunnel and the wagons were loaded through chutes in the floor. I'm sure you know more?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

 

No it's literally west of it as the name implies. It is the first siding on the Parkandillick branch, and diverges on the up side just before Crugwallins siding. The siding itself heads northwest into a long headshunt (which is where the small kiln was built), before reversing back on itself curving to head east through two trailing (or facing, if you're reversing) points forming a passing loop in front of a long kiln, and terminating right on the edge of Burngullow Road. I can imagine it made for some fairly interesting shunting movements. The "middle kiln" has a chimney bearing the initials of Frank Parkyn and is largely intact - it stands in the apex of the curve, so it has quite a wide loading wharf between it and the siding, in which a sunken lorry loading bay remains. The kiln built alongside the headshunt, which appears to share the F.P. marked chimney is also fully roofed and completely intact, even with piles of clay and cast iron fire and ash pit doors. The longer kiln which has the passing loop is partially roofed, again with piles of clay in situ. The clay bagging structure stands opposite this kiln on the passing loop, and it's unclear how it received it's clay apart from a first floor doorway with what appears to be a pulley. Bag loading chutes are visible through the partially open door of this structure, so I would imagine there was some kind of small blondin in use between the kiln and the bag store.

 

Tehidy Minerals/Cornish Kaolin's siding was east of the road at grade with Blackpool sidings, with Burngullow West being to the west of it at grade with the road going over the mainline, so a fair old climb up the branch between the main and the siding! It's linhay floor was relatively the same level as the drying pan, so the building had a symmetrical roof. Trains had to be propelled under the linhay floor due to the headroom. I'm unsure as to the internal arrangement, but I would imagine that it was fairly unsophisticated. I know that this kiln proved to be an inferior and unpopular design, because pan kiln clay is generally in lump form unless it's manually broken up which would've been backbreaking, particularly if there is no "drop" between the pan and the linhay floor, and the wagon tunnel under the linhay floor became a dust trap during loading, which made it a significant health hazard (can you imagine releasing the hand brake on a rake of wagons in a dark dusty tunnel?) so it ended up being one of the first kilns to be abandoned. I imagine it was also a pain trying to spread the load evenly, I'm not sure how they would've even done that.

 

EDIT: Looking at the 1963 OS map, the little kiln was not present, but by the time of the 1971 OS map it was already marked as disused, so it was relatively short lived. This also means that the piles of clay still sat inside it are more than 40 years old! It would also appear that some time prior to the 1971 the passing loop was truncated into two sidings, one serving the bagging structure, the other serving the kiln. I can't imagine why this would've been done, unless perhaps the track was still in situ, just buried.

Edited by Stoker
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I see where you mean, I've highlighted it on this 1971 OS Map for anyone who's wondering:

 

post-146-0-70748900-1392258917.jpg

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

 

I had look through Maurice Dart's West Cornwall Mineral Railways and there is a single photograph of the siding and it doesn't really show a lot. I look forward to seeing what you discover when you head down there, it looks like a jungle on Google Earth!

 

Your description of the Cornish Kaolin Siding makes the facility sound quite impractical! No wonder that style of clay dry didn't catch on!

 

Thanks,

 

Jack

 

 

 

 

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I see where you mean, I've highlighted it on this 1971 OS Map for anyone who's wondering:

 

attachicon.gifBurngullow West.jpg

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

 

I had look through Maurice Dart's West Cornwall Mineral Railways and there is a single photograph of the siding and it doesn't really show a lot. I look forward to seeing what you discover when you head down there, it looks like a jungle on Google Earth!

 

Your description of the Cornish Kaolin Siding makes the facility sound quite impractical! No wonder that style of clay dry didn't catch on!

 

Thanks,

 

Jack

 

That's the one, spot on Jack! You can see just from the map how tiny it is in comparison with the other two kilns, which I think would make a good candidate here for people who want to model a kiln but lack the space (particularly in 4mm). It is pretty much completely covered by tree canopy, it's barely even visible from the unmade lane that goes behind the kilns, and that's only about 70 feet away. The first few times I went there I didn't even notice it. The track itself remains in situ in a trench in front of the kiln as far as I know, I'll do some digging and see if it's still there under all the leaf litter. Interestingly this was a simple run-in kiln, so there were no muck wagons or traversing bridge, it was just a case of open the settling tank door and bring in the clay using shovels and wheelbarrows! Definitely built in a hurry, in any event.

 

It didn't catch on, but it there were a few of them, it was one of four that I know of. The kiln at Charlestown, one at Slip bridge, and the clay store on the Nanpean tramway - all narrow gauge applications which loaded wagons through hatches in the floor. The Charlestown and Slip bridge kilns both connected to a fairly long tunnel before emerging - in the cases of Charlestown by the harbour, and at Slip kiln on a loading wharf next to the branch line. Silicosis was known about back then (thanks to the tin and copper), but obviously less care was taken to prevent it!

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Well, as promised I went to Burngullow West sidings and did a full archaeological survey of the kilns and buildings there. Here are the scale drawings I produced from the survey of the "small kiln" which stands beside the headshunt.

 

post-10374-0-69568700-1392757890_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-88526500-1392757898_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-00836100-1392757905_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-51166700-1392757914_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-85841600-1392855669_thumb.jpg

 

It turned out to be a muck-wagon kiln, with three settling tanks to the rear, and it shared the chimney with the neighbouring Frank Parkyn kiln as I had suspected. The travelling bridge and rails had all long gone, but the body of the wagon, sans chassis, stood extant in the linhay. This measured 3'3" x 4'6" x 1'9" and was probably two foot gauge. The trackside loading doors were top-hung on two iron loops, so these would've been swung out and propped open during use. It was unclear what kind of doors were fitted to the furnace room.

 

More drawings to come!

 

EDIT: I've added an extra drawing here that I missed earlier, the settling tank side!

Edited by Stoker
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If you would like me to / mind me doing so, Ill stick a link to this thread and pin it in the Railways of Cornwall sub-forum - It does deserve as wide a readership as available :)

 

Go right on ahead, I want to get these drawings out to as many people as possible. They will all eventually be published in my book, which will be titled Modelling the China Clay Country.

 

Also perhaps of interest, I found that the rails for the siding were still in situ.

Edited by Stoker
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Thanks for the drawings Stoker. I look forward to your book being published, I'm sure it'll be a must have to add to my library of China Clay books!

 

Would this be one of the last, if not the last muck-wagon kiln built?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

 

It would almost certainly be one of the last coal fired kilns to be built, it's all-concrete construction has the hallmarks of a later build date. It is entirely possible that it's absence from the OS maps was an error, but if the OS maps were correct and it was built after 1963 then I'd find it hard to believe that any other coal fired kilns were built after that date.

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This next set of drawings was taken from the archaeological survey of the Burngullow West sidings bag store. A rather neat little building I thought, this would've been a source of BR van traffic, indeed upon internal inspection I even found a jute sack full of clay that had been long forgotten!

 

post-10374-0-13007100-1392767004_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-77179300-1392767007_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-74334400-1392767010_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-52299800-1392767014_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-63495600-1392767214_thumb.jpg

 

Here's a photo of it from the outside.

 

post-10374-0-33620100-1392767279_thumb.jpg

 

This is the interior of the middle ground floor room which contained clay bagging hopper with four sack chutes.

 

The rooms were not interconnected, their only access was from the trackside loading doors. The room on the left was empty apart from some cobweb covered dead sapling trees (weird) and it's purpose is unknown, but I suspect it would originally have been connected to the other rooms as bag storage space. The room on the right appears to have been an extension, as it contains a bricked up window on the wall partitioning it from the middle room. This room contained stairs to the first floor. Visible from outside looking up through the first floor window, are stairs leading into the loft space. Difficult to infer how this building operated and what it's original layout was - access was not fantastic and I may have to wait for decay and vandals/thieves to open it up for me.

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That would make a perfect little model for almost any Cornish clay layout. An excellent set of drawings and some interesting photographs.

 

I assume the China Clay would be lifted in a barrel by the hoist (much like a gristmill) at the front and then dumped into the hoppers before being bagged. Would clay be ground/milled into a finer product at a facility such as this?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

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That would make a perfect little model for almost any Cornish clay layout. An excellent set of drawings and some interesting photographs.

 

I assume the China Clay would be lifted in a barrel by the hoist (much like a gristmill) at the front and then dumped into the hoppers before being bagged. Would clay be ground/milled into a finer product at a facility such as this?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

 

Both your questions, as to how the clay found it's way to the first floor, and whether the clay was milled, are a mystery to me - I intend on asking my sources these exact questions. The only suggestion is the doorway on the first floor and the protruding steel above said door, which looks to me like it once had a pulley attached to it. There is also a bar across the doorway which looks buckled/fatigued from use. I can only infer from this that a ropeway existed between the kiln and the first floor of the bag store. Internally there was evidence of some kind of equipment that had been removed, but whatever it was went down through a hole in the ground floor, and up through the first floor. It could possibly have been a lift.

 

Obviously the bag store was standard platform height for loading into vans, but I noticed that the loading edge of the kiln was also platform height, so it would theoretically be possible to bridge the gap between the two buildings with a couple of wagons and some planks. Then you could literally just wheelbarrow clay across from the kiln to the bag store. That's a tremendously convoluted way of doing things however. Traditionally, dried lump clay was broken down inside the kiln using a special tool (the name of which I forget), and then it was shovelled into small conveyor which would take the clay up into a wooden hopper. From this hopper, the bags would be loaded. If you skip the hopper and the conveyor, you can just shovel it directly into the bags, but this is a little bit slower and more awkward. Since it was possible to do all this within the kiln building itself, there must've been some reason why it would be advantageous to bag the clay in a separate building.

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Really useful stuff again Stoker. Looking forward to the rest of the drawings - and the book.

I feel a small layout coming on.......

 

Jerry

Extremely useful Stoker and many thanks for sharing such well drawn images, and taking the time to research them for us. The little clay layout I elluded to elsewhere may get a similar set of buildings.

Regards.

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Another drawing for you - unfortunately due to the 350+ foot length of this kiln, the extremely heavy overgrowth, very boggy ground, time constraints, and busybodies blocking entrances, it was not possible to conduct a full survey. Instead I took a full section plan at the one accessible part, showing all the roof timbers.

 

post-10374-0-19788300-1392833360_thumb.jpg

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Hi Stoker, this is really good stuff, thanks for finding the time to put this information up.

 

Could I ask what the units are on the scale bars you have on some of the drawings?

 

Ray.

 

 

Yes I should probably have included that here much earlier - they are in feet. The bar is 10 feet long, each black and white segment is one foot.

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Now here's something for the modern image enthusiasts.

 

post-10374-0-00668800-1393201578_thumb.jpg

 

post-10374-0-49075000-1393201586_thumb.jpg

 

This enormous, hulking structure housed the very last buell type dryer to be used by Imerys, before this equipment was replaced with an assisted fluid bed dryer. It fed a large clay store that was a rather unusual combination of store and silos. The filter presses were at some point upgraded from square plate to circular plate, which operated at much higher pressures and used a jet of compressed air to free the cakes from the filter cloth. These presses were less labor intensive and produced cakes that were a lower moisture content, which allowed the dryer to operate at a considerably higher output. Consequently it became one of the main sources of traffic on the branch.

 

Unfortunately this is not a complete set of drawings for this structure, because I need to collect more information. I will add additional drawings to this set to complete it once I get a chance to get back out there! I am planning to do a few more scale drawings of modern image buildings to put up on here.

 

Here's the real thing:

 

post-10374-0-61774700-1393203139_thumb.jpg

Edited by Stoker
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