Aberthaw Lime Works was opened on December 22nd 1888 by The Aberthaw Pebble Limestone Company. The unique properties of the lime from this area was well known and this plant was built to take advantage of the limestone pebbles available locally. Lime made from the local Lias limestone, mixed with pozzolana and fired, had the ability to produce a lime mortar capable of setting under water. This was the forerunner of Portland cement which uses similar components in it’s manufacture. The lime produced at Aberthaw proved invaluable in the construction of docks, piers, harbour works and lighthouses. It was rumoured that Aberthaw lime was used in the construction of the Eddystone lighthouse, but although it was tested for use on that project the mortar for the construction was finally sourced from Devon.
The lime works consisted of 2 massive brick lined limestone vertical pot draw kilns which were loaded from the top with limestone and coal from wagons hauled up an inclined tramway with cables from a winding house. There was also a ground level tramway system to move wagons around the site. This extended some ½ mile eastwards in the direction of Rhoose. The arrival of the railway allowed easier movement of coal and lime with an extension of the Taff Vale Railway serving the site. Each kiln had a capacity of 300 tons and could produce up to 40 tons of lime per day. Two additional kilns were built next to the vertical kilns at a later date. The works finally ceased production in 1926.
The kilns themselves still remain standing, as do the remains of other stone buildings and the boiler house, but the associated wooden winding gear structure and tramway system have all now disappeared. The remaining structure is a grade II listed building considered to have important significance to the local industrial history of the area.
Photograph of Aberthaw Limeworks - The wagon ramp and winding gear is clearly visible. The trucks are on the Taff railway extension.