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Tyne and Wear HER(1004): Whinfield Coke Ovens - Details

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Whinfield Coke Works, Rowlands Gill



Whinfield Coke Ovens




Fuel Production Site

Coke Oven

Early Modern


Ruined Building

Durham beehive kilns were the first successful system of making coke with Durham coal and these ones, built in 1861 at the Marquess of Bute's Victoria Garesfield Colliery, worked until 1958 when they were the last working beehive coke ovens in the country. The bricks from which the ovens were built were made on site and at nearby Lily (later Lilley) Colliery. The coal used in the ovens came from the Victoria seam at the Victoria Garesfield Colliery and the Brockwell seam at the Watergate Colliery. A narrow gauge railway ran along the top of the batteries of ovens, the trucks (known as 'small tubs') charging the ovens from above (it took four wagons to charge each oven). From the early 20th century the waste heat from the ovens was used to raise steam for generating electricity, which in turn was used by a cuprous oxide plant. This plant, established in 1915, sold much of its output to manufacturers of antifouling paints for ships. From the range of 193 on the site, five plus two halves have been preserved and a plaque recording their place in history has been incorporated into the monument. Scheduled as an ancient monument in 1975 the ovens are now held freehold by the Tyne and Wear Industrial Monuments Trust who organised the restoration of the ovens in the 1980s. SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT




<< HER 1004 >> McCall, Bernard, Beehive Coke Ovens at Whinfield, County Durham, pp 52 - 61 I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 38 English Heritage, 2001, English Heritage Monuments Protection Program (Interim) Memo Gateshead MBC, Whinfield Coke Ovens, Text for information board- Historic Environment Record Images of Industry: Coal -Historic Environment Record L. Turnbull, 1980, The Chopwell Story; Tyne and Wear Archives DP.PM/2/13 Whinfield Cokeworks 1951

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