Riddler's lime kiln

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Generally known around Otago as "Riddler's kiln" this is in fact accurately Riddell's kiln. McDonald and Riddell were in partnership briefly I understand but Riddell split and worked this kiln on his own until the late 1920s. He had a crusher further up the road (steam powered) and he supplied hydraulic lime from this kiln - simply because the type of limestone (it has silica and silt in it) makes that sort of material when burned.

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Comments (2)

Bruce Comfort on August 17, 2011

In this view of the kiln, it can be seen that the two buttress walls are in fact remnant parts of a pair of left and right handed masonry walls with extensions to the left and the right which have collapsed and allowed the fill behind them to disperse. They may even have been curved backwards to wrap around the shape of the hillside, however no other photographs are available at this time to show the configuration. The exposed quoin blocks will have tied these walls together but outward pressure on the side walls (without deep foundations and standing nearly vertical as it is possible to imagine them) will have contributed to their eventual destruction and loss. There are no stone blocks below the kiln to prove that these walls existed, but it was not uncommon for cut masonry blocks such as these to have found another home when they all fell down - it's common around the world and was recycling before recycling became necessary to "save the planet" Without such walls and back-fill, the kiln would have had no flat land around its top opening and that would have made its use untenable. Some later landowners have tipped or placed broken rock down the hillside to reduce erosion risk. This photograph was taken from the road, so even without entering private land it is possible to get a very good look at the hearth end of a 19th Century lime kiln, at this location.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS KILN IS ON PRIVATE LAND AND IS TO BE VIEWED ONLY FROM THE ROADSIDE. UNAUTHORISED ACCESS MAY DISTURB ANIMALS ON THE PROPERTY AND THE KILN IS DEEP AND DANGEROUS AND NOT FENCED. THERE IS ANOTHER KILN ACROSS THE ROAD ON RESERVE LAND WHICH IS BOTH LEGALY ACCESSIBLE AND SET-UP FOR PUBLIC VIEWING.

Bruce Comfort on January 18, 2012

well well well. No side walls at all - just these narrow buttresses with the "quoin blocks" sticking out - how very strange. It was obvious that the way the soil/earth had been formed around the kiln mouth (hardly at all) that some means must have been employed to allow the kiln operators to walk around the kiln mouth safely without tumbling down the bank - and here it is in the newest photo of this set, just added. A rather poor reproduction of a poor copy of an enlargement of a small contact print from a very early 1900s camera and you can see the kiln working, the quarry still quite small, the lime burners' day hut accommodation either undeveloped or demolished? and the wooden platform around the kiln mouth. Too much speculation by far, first time.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 10, 2011
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort
    • Camera: SAMSUNG ES65, ES67 / VLUU ES65, ES67 / SAMSUNG SL50
    • Taken on 2011/08/09 15:52:07
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/350)
    • Focal Length: 4.90mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.30 EV
    • No flash

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