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Warwickshire's Industrial Railways

Southam Cement Works

Sometimes called Long Itchington Works or Kaye's Works the site was for a long time used for Blue Lias lime manufacture and had its own dock on the Grand Union Canal for shipment as far as London. 'Cement' was claimed as a product as early as 1854. However, as with nearby Rugby, it was some time before a true Portland cement was produced, beginning around 1875. Dry process bottle kilns were used. Of the six in use in 1875, probably three were making cement, at 90 tons per week. Kilns were added piecemeal: by 1887 there were twelve kilns. Four more were added in 1892-4 and another four in 1902-4, giving in 1907 a capacity of 600 tons per week, although the kilns had not all been used for Portland cement, capacity for that being only 240 tons per week in 1901. The bottle kilns were decommissioned when the rotary kilns were installed in 1908, except for a few kept for lime production.

The initial use of dry process seems not to have lasted long, and kilns A1 and A2 were probably converted to wet process not long after the installation of the wet process kiln A3. In any case, they were shut down from 1915 to 1927 and were only used intermittently thereafter. The plant was on its knees by the depression of 1932, with only one kiln operational and went into receivership in 1934, at which point Rugby Cement bought it and commenced a major re-build. Kilns A4 and A5 essentially re-sited the plant, and A3 was used only intermittently from then on. The conversions of kilns A6 and A7 to semi-wet process were 'energy reduction demonstration projects'. The use of a Lepol grate on A6 provided a pilot for the much larger Rochester A6. The two-stage pre-heater and crusher/drier on A7 was a development of the method used on Pitstone A5, and prefigured subsequent semi-wet developments, including that of Rugby A7. Both kilns were dogged by alkali build-up problems, and neither gave particularly good energy performance. In the end, they were too small to be viable. In addition to the canal, the plant also had a railway connection through the L&NWR Weedon to Leamington branch from 1895. This branch closed in 1963, but the plant still connected with Rugby through the Rugby to Leamington branch until the latter closed in 1985. The plant was demolished in 2011-2012. The quarry is still active, supplying Lias to Rugby Cement's plant in Rugby.

Dylan Moore

View of Southam Cement Works' loading dock on the Grand Union Canal for shipping cement as far as London
Ref: misc_scw159
C Capewell
View of Southam Cement Works' loading dock on the Grand Union Canal for shipping cement to London
View of one of the sidings used to transport equipment into Southam Cement Works seen in October 1967
Ref: misc_scw160
C Capewell
View of one of the sidings used to transport equipment into Southam Cement Works seen in October 1967
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Liassic' is seen posed for the camera in between moving hoppers at Southan Cement Works
Ref: misc_indust036
RS Carpenter
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Liassic' is seen posed for the camera in between moving hoppers at Southan Cement Works
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Liassic' is seen standing outside Southam Cement Works on 27th October 1956
Ref: misc_indust092
B Mettam
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Liassic' is seen standing outside Southam Cement Works on 27th October 1956
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Triassic' is seen standing alongside the coal point at Southam Cement Works
Ref: misc_indust093
KJ Cooper
Peckett 0-6-0ST 'Triassic' is seen standing alongside the coal point at Southam Cement Works

First of three views of Hudswell & Clarke diesel locomotive D 625 which was built in their Leeds factory in 1942
Ref: misc_scw158
C Capewell
First of three views of Hudswell & Clarke diesel D 625 which was built in their Leeds factory in 1942
Aerial view of the BRC & WC works  showing the Great Western Railway cutting through the middle of the site
Ref: misc_scw162
C Capewell
Second of three views of Hudswell & Clarke diesel D 625 which was built in their Leeds factory in 1942
Third of three views of Hudswell & Clarke diesel locomotive D 625 which was built in their Leeds factory in 1942
Ref: misc_scw161
C Capewell
Third of three views of Hudswell & Clarke diesel D 625 which was built in their Leeds factory in 1942
First of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932
Ref: misc_scw163
English Heritage
First of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932
Second of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932
Ref: misc_scw164
English Heritage
Second of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932

Third of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932
Ref: misc_scw165
English Heritage
Third of three aerial views of Southam Cement Works, Long Itchington, taken in 1932

Robert Ferris writes, 'the following table lists most of the standard and narrow gauge locomotives purchased by Southam Cement works over the years'.

Standard Gauge
Locomotives
Locomotive Type Manufacturer Manufacturer's
Works No.
Date Acquired Disposal
SOUTHAM 0-4-0 Diesel Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd.
Railway Foundary, Leeds
D604 1936 (New)  
SOUTHAM No 2 0-4-0 Diesel Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd.
Railway Foundary, Leeds
D625 1942 (New)  
 
Narrow Gauge
Locomotives (1 foot, 11½ inches)
Locomotive Type Manufacturer Manufacturer's
Works No.
Date Acquired Disposal
JURASSIC 0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1008 1903  
NEOZOIC 0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1119 1906 Scrapped 1943
LIASSIC 0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1216 1909 Scrapped 1943
TRIASSIC 0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1270 1911  
MESOZOIC 0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1327 1913  
  0-6-0ST Peckett & Sons Ltd.
Atlas Locomotive Works, Bristol
1632 1923  
  0-4-0ST W.G.Bagnall
Castle Engine Works, Stafford
2148 1924 Scrapped 1943

All the narrow gauge 0-6-0 Saddle Tank steam locomotives had outside cylinders. There were also four narrow gauge 4 wheel petrol locomotives, one of which was an ex-contractor locomotive obtained in 1936.