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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 67 NW 98
Type of record:Monument
Name:J. B. White Portland Cement Works, Swanscombe


Cement works first opened in 1825 which went on to produce Portland cement. The works was supplied by river, with a tramway, and later aerial ropeway, and by a number of pits which were extracted around the site. The works remained in operation until the 1990's and the site was demolished between 1990 and 1995. Very little of the site would have remained. (location accurate to the nearest 1m based on available information)

Grid Reference:TQ 6022 7511
Map Sheet:TQ67NW

Monument Types

  • CEMENT WORKS (Closed, Post Medieval to Modern - 1874 AD to 1990 AD? (between))
  • CEMENT KILN (Closed, Post Medieval to Modern - 1900 AD? to 1990 AD? (at some time))

Full description

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James Frost set up a works in 1825 to make artificial cement. This was later purchased by Francis & White in 1833, and solely operated by J. B. White & Son from 1838. Frost used grinding mills with iron shod wheels were used to crush chalk before use, which was then mixed with clay (from near Upnor) and water in a wash mill. It then settled in a washback until dried to a paste and cut out to be burn in a kiln. Later White manufactures Portland Cement in a similar fashion. In 1862 the works employed 750 and produced 30,000 tons of cement a year. In 1900 the site became part of APCM (Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers) and the first commercially operated rotary kiln was installed. By 1909 this number had increased to 16. Up to 1937 clay for the cement had been dug from Cliffe Marshes and transported to the works on 1,000 ton boats.

The works were originally situated in a trianular area between Manor Way/Lower Road, London Road and Pilgrims Road. In the 1870's it consisted of three widely spaced main buildings with four washbacks against Manor Way (centred on TQ6008075108). A small chalk pit operated to the south of London Road (TQ6011574914) and two cement pits to the north (Centred TQ6014375484). A tramway ran from the works, past the cement pits, up to Bell Wharf on the Thames (TQ 67 NW 1012). By 1897 the site had expanded considerably with washbacks and ovens built. The two cement pits had gone and in their place a marshalling yard for the trams to the river wharf, which also had developed. The tramway was extended and new pits works and old pits extended. By 1910 the site had spread north of Manor Way and more alterations had been made to the main work complex, with the western part redeveloped and several buildings demolished. By the 1930's an aerial ropeway had been installed form the works to Bell Wharf and four large wash mills built to the east of the main works and two in the old pit south of London Road. The site had been closed and demolished by 1995.(1)

<1> Eve, David., 1999, The Cement Industry in Kent: Results of a Sites and Monuments Record Enhancement Project 1996 - 98 (Unpublished document). SKE12011.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Unpublished document: Eve, David.. 1999. The Cement Industry in Kent: Results of a Sites and Monuments Record Enhancement Project 1996 - 98.

Related records

TQ 57 SE 150Parent of: Barnfield Pit (Collyers Pit or New Craylands Lane Pit), (Monument)
TQ 67 NW 1012Parent of: Bell Wharf, Broadness (Monument)
TQ 67 SW 235Parent of: Craylands Lane Pit, Swanscombe (Monument)
TQ 67 NW 107Parent of: Johnson's cement works Second World War air raid siren, Swanscombe, Dartford, Kent (Monument)
TQ 67 NW 1011Parent of: Pier at Broadness (Monument)
TQ 67 NW 1031Parent of: Site of chalk Quarry, brick works and cement works, Northfleet (Monument)
TQ 67 SW 587Parent of: Swanscombe Cement Works tunnel later used as Second World War air raid shelter (Building)
TQ 67 NW 99Parent of: Tramway J. B. White Portland Cement Works, Swanscombe (Monument)
TQ 67 SW 588Parent of: Tunnel at Swanscombe Cement Works later used as Second World War air raid shelter under London Road, Swanscombe (Building)
TQ 67 SW 589Parent of: Tunnel at Swanscombe Cement Works, later used as Second World War air raid shelter under London Road, Swanscombe (Building)
TQ 57 NE 1001Parent of: White's Jetty, Broadness (Monument)

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