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Follow Up Activities

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The Llanymynech Limeworks Heritage Area

Now you have finished your tour of Llanymynech Limeworks Heritage Area
you should be able to answer most of these questions:
DOWNLOAD this page [see above right] so you can write or draw your answers

The following activities are organised in three main parts:

A - Why did a lime industry grow up at Llanymynech?
B - What was life like for workers in the lime industry?
C - What should the area be like in the future?

1. Sculpture by the entrance

This sculpture tells the story of Llanymynech.

Drawing courtesy of Brian Scoggins

Find these episodes in the story of the village:-

  • The creation of the hill millions of years ago from the shells of dead sea creatures (A)
  • The arrival of the Romans 1st Century AD (B)
  • The Hoffman Lime Kiln built in 1900 (C)
  • The building of the Shropshire Union Canal 1786 (D)
  • The re-building of St. Agatha’s church in 1843 (E)

2. Quarry

Was this rock face man made or natural?
How can you tell?

Limestone is made from the shells of sea creatures that died millions of years ago.
What does that tell you about Llanymynech millions of years ago?

Limestone is the name of the rock that can be taken (or quarried) from hillsides. 
Limestone can be used for lots of different purposes. It can also be burnt to produce quicklime.

 Here is a list of just a few of the things that lime (limestone and quicklime) can be used for.
It was far more widely used in the past.

Tick the things that you think limestone is still commonly used for now.

Uses of lime



With other things to make tooth paste



To throw at enemy soldiers to blind them



To use as a building material



To spread on the land to improve it for growing crops



With other things to make baby powder



To destroy dead bodies of plague victims



3. Inclined plane and brake drum house

Here is a picture of a restored inclined plane at Blists Hill, near Ironbridge.


Look at the diagram of the inclined plane at Llanymynech. The operator of the brake drum would have stood at (B)

Drawing courtesy of Brian Scoggins

Complete these sentences

B would have been a good place for the operator to stand because

A would have been a bad place for the operator to stand because

C would have been a bad place for the operator to stand because

4. Dangers when working on the tramways

The inclined plane and the tramways could be dangerous places to work. Workers were expected to
look after themselves. Today employers try to keep their workers safe by doing a Risk Assessment.
They do this by looking at the possible dangers and how likely it is that the workers could be
affected by these dangers. Try this yourself by using a scoring system

A. LEVEL OF DANGER               Score

Could kill                                               10                                 

Could cause serious injury                   6

Could cause minor injury                    4

B. LIKELY TO HAPPEN               Score

Very likely/probable                          10

Fairly likely/possible                          6

Not very likely/occasional                 4

Unlikely/unusual                                  2

To assess the level of risk multiply the ‘Danger’ score (A) by the ‘Likely’ score (B).
The higher the risk assessment score, the higher is the threat to a worker’s safety.
Do a risk assessment using this table. The first one has been done for you.



Danger level

Score A


How likely


Score B

Risk Assessment

(A x B)

EXAMPLE 1. Being hit by a runaway wagon






2. Being caught up in the brake drum cable

3. Being hit by limestone falling from a wagon

4. Tripping on the rails or slipping on the sleepers 

5. Falling off a wagon while riding down on it

6. Pinching fingers in wagon couplings

The biggest threat to a worker’s safety (highest risk assessment score) was:

The smallest threat to a worker’s safety (lowest risk assessment score) was:

There were in fact no risk assessments in Victorian times. If there had been,
what three ways of improving the safety of workers on the inclined planes and the
tramways might you have suggested?

5. View from between Quarry face and winding drum

Find the places on the drawing

Criggion quarry           River Vyrnwy 

Limekiln chimney              Crossroads in village                Church tower

Drawing courtesy of Brian Scoggins

Why do you think a canal, and so many railways, were built in the area you can see on the drawing?

6. Tunnels under the road

There were at one time two owners who owned two quarries and two tramways that led to two loading
places on the canal. Where else can you see something showing there were two owners?

Steam engines (locomotives) were not used on this tramway to pull or push the trucks.

Here are some suggestions why not: – write “true” or “false” next to each reason.


True or false

Locomotives couldn’t fit through the tunnels

Smoke from locomotives would add to global warming

Steam locomotives would frighten local sheep

The owners used horse or donkey and human power as they were cheaper

7. Tally Hut

Why was this hut such a busy place?

The quarry gangs who blasted the rock and took it down the tramways were paid “piece rate”.
That is, they were paid by how much stone they carried - the more stone, the higher their wages.
There were advantages and disadvantages to the worker of this. What were they?



8. Tramways/Railway sidings etc

This area of the site was a confusing one. Railways used wide rails whilst tramways used narrow rails.
They were there to carry coal in, limestone in and out, and quicklime out.

The remains of tramways and railways may be indicated where you find:

  • Man made banking and cuttings
  • Neat stonework
  • Level or gently sloping ground
  • Firm surfaces

NOTE – the stream and pond were not there when the tramways were in use

On the map (below) you were standing in the dotted box marked ‘YOU ARE HERE’


i)   The main railway siding

ii)  The tramways

iii) Two bridges that are no longer there


9. The Hoffman Lime Kiln

Look at this picture which tries to show what it was like when the kiln was in use


  • Where is the coal fed in?
  • Where is the limestone taken in?
  • Where is the burnt quicklime taken out?
  • Where is air drawn into the kiln to make the fire burn?
  • Where does the smoke come out?



10. Jobs in the Limeworks

Read all the job descriptions below and decide 

  1. How unpleasant or unpleasant each job was
  2. How much skill was needed to do the job

Where would you put an x on the line. The first one is done for you as an example

 Tally Man – He recorded the weights of the wagons coming down the hill from the quarry and wrote
it into a ledger (record book). He had his own brick hut with a fireplace.

Unpleasant-----------------------x-Pleasant    No skill--------------x-------A lot of skill

Kiln fireman – He controlled the fire from the roof by trickling coal through holes in it. He had to
adjust the draught of the kiln to burn rock at the rate of 1 foot every 4 hours. It was important to get
 the rate right to make sure the lime was any use. 

Unpleasant--------------------------Pleasant  No skill------------------------A lot of skill

Foreman– His job was making sure the whole operation ran smoothly. He had to make sure that
of the 14 kiln chambers one was always empty, two burning, two cooling and one being emptied.
He also supervised loading at the wharf. 

Unpleasant--------------------------Pleasant    No skill------------------------A lot of skill

Unloaders –They checked the quality of the quicklime. They didn’t wear masks or goggles and had to
wear lots of clothing to protect them from the very high heat (1000 degrees). When they sweated, steam
and gases rose up and burnt their throat and eyes. The lime irritated their skin. They were paid more
than kiln loaders.  

Unpleasant--------------------------Pleasant  No skill------------------------A lot of skill

Labourers – They did lots of different jobs. They pushed coal wagons to the site, laid temporary
track into the kiln, removed ash from the kiln, coupled wagons up, took empty wagons to the bottom of the
incline and broke rocks on the wharf ready to put onto barges.

Unpleasant--------------------------Pleasant  No skill------------------------A lot of skill

Who had the most unpleasant job?       

Who had the most pleasant job? 

Who had the least skilled job?            

Who had the most skilled job?  

Which job would you want to do?         _

11. Canal Wharf

Here is a picture of John Roberts, the limework’s foreman, in the wharf area.

See if you can work out where he was standing.

What kind of impression do you think he is trying to make for the photograph?

Clues: Look at what he’s wearing, what he’s carrying, how he’s standing etc

 12. A view of the limeworks, taken in 1915, just after it closed

Look at the photo below

There are lots photos of the village of Llanymynech but only this one of the lime works.
Why do you think this is?

How is the scene different from today? Clue: think about both buildings and nature.

How is it similar to today?

Now that you have seen the area

Do you think it should be allowed to return to nature?


Do you think it should be made to look like it did in 1901 when the Limeworks was very busy?

What ideas do you have for what might be done now?


13 Conclusions


“People would have been happy to work in the lime Kiln industry at Llanymynech”

 What do you think? (Bear in mind that some other jobs in the area, like working on farms,
were poorly paid with long hours of work).


Why was there a lime industry at Llanymynech?

Put these reasons in order of importance by putting a number next to each with 1 being
most important
and 5 being least important.


Millions of years ago, limestone was made out of the shells of dead sea creatures

It was easy to transport limestone by canal and railway to other places in the country

People didn’t have to be paid much to work in the lime industry

New technology like the Hoffman kiln made it quicker and easier to produce lime

Lime was used for many different purposes