Thursday, 19 March 2020

Lime Kiln

For economic reasons, when it comes to erecting buildings, man often exploits the underground resources of a region. In the Touraine that is shining white hard limestone and slate, but also clay and soft chalky limestone. A multitude of lime, tile and brick kilns peppered the landscape in the Middle Ages and these persist either as ruins or in place names.

The opening in the top of a brick lined bottle shaped lime kiln near Le Grand Pressigny.
Top of a bottle shaped lime kiln.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The oldest kilns date from the 14th century, but production reached a peak in the 19th century and declined in the 20th. There are 579 such industrial kilns surviving in Indre et Loire, in 160 municipalities.

The 'eye' at the base of the kiln, through which the lime was extracted.
'Eye' at the base of a lime kiln.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The tiles they manufactured were used on roofs and on floors at all levels. Lime was used in construction directly or as render, then extensively for making cements and as a soil improver.

The walking group take a break at the base of the kiln. I'm standing on top to take the photo.
Walking group resting at a lime kiln.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Three lime kilns and at least nine tile kilns are known from around Le Grand Pressigny, and at least a dozen tile kilns and a brick kiln around Preuilly sur Claise.


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Colin and Elizabeth said...

Interesting never really noticed them before. It is the same in our area in the UK Lots of limestone and old kilns everywhere.

Susan said...

This is the first one I've ever been up close to. They are very tucked away and not really obvious.

Carolyn said...

I really appreciate the way you two are interested in everything. We readers never know what subject will pop up each day but it’s always sure to be interesting, well researched, and informative. Today it’s lime kilns, the other day it was cake release. I’ve learned a lot from reading your blog, and not just about France. I believe I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating.

Sorry to read that your clients are canceling. Better for you perhaps not to be in contact with people who’ve just passed through several international airports. That was part of our thinking in canceling our upcoming trip. A few innocent, optimistic weeks ago we were sure we’d be starting out in good health but could be exposed to the virus in airports or car rental places. By now we are fond of all our regular B&B hosts and the thought of bringing the virus to them stopped us. Now of course things are much more serious in both our countries.

Stay safe during this difficult period. Social distancing is proving to be awkward but it’s necessary.

Just before I read your blog each morning, I read a small town newspaper and it reported resentment of the Parisians who fled to that area to ride out this pandemic in their country homes. Is that an issue in your area?

Susan said...

Blog post coming up tomorrow about how we are managing. We take the same view as you. Simon is in the at risk group, so from that point of view we are happy not to be meeting new people especially those that have been on planes and trains. The government has been very quick to announce safety nets for small businesses and we will be taking advantage of some of them. Knowing that people like you are still reading is a real boost to our morale and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Yes, people are commenting on the number of Parisians who've suddenly turned up and there is some resentment. Not too bad, but noticeable. One of my friends, who is otherwise the nicest possible person, felt moved to put a sarky meme on her FB, reminding Parisians that the countryside stinks of cowshit and you get woken up a dawn by roosters every morning.

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