Clamp or Draw?: Lime Kilns, Lime Provenance and Lime Kilns as Status Symbol in the Era of High Farming in Scotland

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Geographical & Earth Sciences


This project, which is collaborative with, and co-supervised by, Historic Scotland, will document the distribution of clamp kilns and draw kilns for lime burning in Scotland, assessing why different kiln types were preferred in terms of both cost of inputs and lime quality. It will bring clamp kilns - more numerous than draw kilns, but not nearly so impressive to the architect and building historian - back into the 'limelight'. To meet this aim, the project will address the following objectives:
1. To document the pattern of lime production across Scotland;
2. To understand the regional and national flows of limestone and coal, and imported lime;
3. To unravel how lime was viewed in this period, and if social status attached to owning a draw kiln.
Within the overall aim and objectives listed above, the student will have opportunity to shape the project according to their own interests.

Research Questions
Lime for mortar underpinned the building booms across nineteenth-century urban Scotland, as well as being the fundamental element in the Scottish agricultural revolution. Lime was also imported into Scotland, and the project's documenting of the flow of these imports as well as the inputs to local lime burning will enable the provenancing of limes in different areas. Using these kiln-type and provenance data, the project will then, in a novel 'twist' to this type of analysis, assess the extent to which draw kilns for agricultural lime became status symbols of high farming in wealthy agricultural areas in Scotland.

Proposed Methodology and Methods
The project will be built on a combination of mapping/GIS analysis and archival work. To address the objectives listed above, the student will:
1. extend to all of Scotland the existing data on OS first edition 6 inch mapping of Scotland's Central Belt, and use GIS to analyse mid-nineteenth-century lime kiln locations and types;
2. use primary sources - business and agricultural directories, contemporary statistical studies, and archival data - to understand production and movement of coal, limestone and lime in several selected study areas, with an emphasis on areas of 'high farming' - the agriculturally wealthy areas of the Lothians, Perthshire and NE Scotland.
3. use archives, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century agricultural surveys and directories and agricultural society literature, newspapers, business directories, estate maps, and private correspondence to identify the changing ways in which lime production was valued in the 'high farming' era.


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