From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Buxton Lime Firm

53° 14' 56.4" N 1° 52' 51.9" W
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Buxton Lime Firm was company based around Buxton, in Derbyshire.

Due to fierce competition and the demand for lime, Buxton Lime Firm was born in 1891 by merging thirteen independent quarry companies around the Buxton area with the total assets of seventeen quarries. To increase production control was given to four directors who then raised the price of stone and lime, which in turn enabled them to increase production by modernisation and developing procedures which also improved working conditions.

Buxton Lime Firm grew, they owned 1552 acres of land, 89 lime kilns, 21 stone crushers and 3 collieries. With these resources they produced 360,000 tons of limestone and 280,000 tons of lime per year. By 1915 another nine quarries were established or bought with an extensive limekiln building program in full flow.

One user of the Buxton Lime was John Brunner and Ludwig Mond in their manufacture of soda ash, a product made from salt and lime. Such was their use of the product they managed to buy into the company with a controlling share in 1918. Production was increased, with the majority of lime going to Brunners and Monds soda ash factory at Northwich. With 750,000 tones a year going to the soda factory, Brunner and Mond bought the company outright and merged the companies to become the Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd or better known as ICI.

More quarries were opened, the major one being at Tunstead, close to Buxton. It was started in 1929 and running by 1932. Lime kilns were added in 1935. Experiments in a smaller quarry to improve the lime kilns by BLF engineers were carried out in the early 1930's. All this helped establish ICI as a world leader.

Sadly during WWII a lot of kilns were decommissioned as they could not conform with the strict blackout regulations. Although this decreased production a simple solution was soon found to bring production back to normal, some kilns were fitted with closed tops making them more efficient and led to new development of kilns.

By this time the Buxton Lime Firm name had been dropped completely. All that remains of the original company is a few abandoned buildings and overgrown quarries with the logo BLF cast into the concrete.