Skelsey's Adamant Cement Works

Barton had many brick and tile manufacturers along the banks of the Humber, most of which has been lost to nature.  It also had its own cement plant.  This was a relatively short-lived affair, lasting only around 35 years (1892-1927), but its mark has been left with numerous ruins still visible at the right time of the year.

In 1885 George Henry Skelsey bought the cement plant of Martin Brown and Co. Ltd on Morley Street in Hull.  This was an old-fashioned plant and Skelsey was looking to expand.  Skelsey sold cement under the "Adamant" brand and decided, in 1890, to create a public limited company called "Skelsey's Adamant Cement Co., Ltd".  With the money he raised from this he started the construction of his new cement plant at Ness End at Barton.  This was a more modern and efficient plant and had the advantage of raw materials close to hand, being clay and chalk. This plant opened around 1892.  By 1900 his Hull plant closed.  The plant in Barton was called the Port Adamant Works, situated at Ness End in Barton.  In the 1901 census the cement works was recorded along with Ness Brickyard, although no names were recorded there.  By 1907 the Barton plant was making 650 tons of cement per week.  In 1912 Skelsey's, along with 33 other cement companies, was bought out by the Blue Circle Group (which formed British Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd.).  This sale also included G & T Earle of Hull, and this sales arm was kept to administer Skelsey's at Barton.  A new plant was acquired by the new owners at Melton in 1923, and then they had one built at Hope in 1927.  At this time Skelsey's Barton Cement Works was closed down.

The Site Layout
As you enter the site today (the main western entrance) you are walking down what was the original railway line through the site to the jetty (which has all-but washed away now).  This line linked the cement plant with the New Cliff chalk quarry just to the south-west of the site and the clay pits which were behind the site.  This railway line was a three-foot gauge and the first locomotive used was named Adamant, after the cement brand (it was originally called Isabella).  To the west of this path are the remains of what was probably the cement storage area, passing from the main kiln structure to the east.  To the north of the site is the remains of the wharf, where the sloops would have been loaded to deliver the cement.  Behind this are the remains of the cement bins.  Behind the cement bins well hidden in the undergrowth lie more ruins which may well have been to do with slurry preparation.   Halfway along the path you came in on is the entrance to the main body of the site.  You will immediately notice four large brick structures with a fifth smaller one just to the north.  The four large brick structures (the furthest two looking like a brick Stonehenge structure)  are the piers which would have supported the rotary kiln, and somewhere round here should be the remains of chimney stack.  The largest one in the centre would have accommodated both a support tyre and the kiln's drive gear.  The smaller pier to the north carried the main drive-shaft of the kiln which would have connected with the motor which is probably the ruins to the east of this structure.  Following the path to the south east you will come across a little well, where the water for the cement manufacturing process came from.  Next you will find another brick structure.  Just behind this brick structure is another rather long brick structure, probably over 180 foot long, and mostly hidden.  This would have been a row of kilns, with arches underneath acting as "draw-holes", spaced around 18 foot apart.  There would have been about ten of these.  These would have linked to the four pier structures you have just passed and the chimney base were you first entered.  There are more ruins dotted around the site which are still a mystery.

The wharf remains facing east. The cement bins
The remains of the wharf facing east. The remains of the wharf facing west, with the cement bins in view.
The first brick pier structure. The second and third brick pier structure.
The first brick pier structure you will see when entering the site. The second and third brick pier structure, and the one set to the north.
The well. The large kiln structure to the east of the site.
The well in the centre of the site. Just two of the ten kiln arches to the east of the site.
The rear wall of the cement bins. Ruins to the west of the kiln structure.
The rear wall of the northern cement bins. Other remains to the west of the large kiln structure.

Many thanks to Dylan Moore (who is researching early cement plants) for his invaluable information regarding the Barton site.  If you have any interesting information which you think may be valuable please contact and I will pass it on.

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