5-plank lime wagon 5-plank lime wagon 5-plank lime wagon

PW014 Richard Briggs & Sons Ld.
5-plank lime wagon
Red with white lettering shaded black.


Lime-burning is an industry which goes back to medieval times, heating crushed limestone in kilns to turn it into the highly caustic and volatile quicklime. This was then mixed with water to form slaked lime, a vital component of mortar and plaster since Roman times. From the 17th century or thereabouts it was also used in agriculture, to reduce soil acidity and so make poor-quality land fertile. Like all industrial processes, production was limited by how quickly and easily the raw materials could be brought in and the finished products shipped out, so lime works tended to be on a small scale to serve local customers. But the 19th century brought the railways to carry heavy loads from A to B in no time, and for Victorian industrialists the brakes were off. When the railway arrived in the town of Clitheroe, in Lancashire's Ribble Valley, the local limestone quarries were amongst their first and biggest customers. With this new-fangled rapid transport to carry the lime direct from kiln to customer the industry boomed, and Richard Briggs & Sons were amongst the many local businesses taking full advantage. Their Bankfield lime works had its own connection to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Bolton to Blackburn line, and sidings ran under the kilns to allow the finished product to be loaded straight into the waiting wagons. Lime has to be protected from the elements while in transit, so the wagons were originally sheeted with tarpaulins and then fitted with low sloping roofs. Eventually the old brightly-coloured wooden wagons were replaced by covered hoppers made out of steel, and the smaller companies were all swallowed up by bigger corporate fish. The Bankfield quarry is still in production, but the cement made from its limestone goes out by road tanker, and Richard Briggs & Sons is no more. Bring them back into the limelight on your layout with our Briggs wagon.

To buy this wagon along with our John F. Scott lime wagon, please go to our 'N' Sets page.

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