Kettleness Alum Works

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Alum production occurred at Kettleness from 1727 until 1871. This has radically altered the appearance of the area.

The original Alum house at beach level was destroyed by a huge landslide in 1829, what now appear to be cliffs are the face of the quarry where the sandstone over the shale has been removed.

The remains of the second alum house are on a flat area on the west side of the works, foundations remain and jet mines can be found under the platform which holds the building. The whole area is covered is loose blown shale where little grows.
Kettleness Alum Works  Kettleness Alum Works

The foundations of another building can be seen on the eastern edge of the site.

Kettleness Alum Works Kettleness Alum Works

To the south of the building are a number of steeping pits which are slowly being lost over the cliff edge.

Kettleness Alum Works Kettleness Alum Works Kettleness Alum Works

The remains of stone conduits used to transport liquids are also visible in the south east.
Kettleness Alum Works

To the north of the steeping pits is the top of a cistern, again collapsing over the cliff edge.

Kettleness Alum Works

There are a huge number of features around the site although they are often difficult to interpret due to being buried by the constantly shifting shale, they are however extensively covered in English Heritage survey AI/24/2003

5 thoughts on “Kettleness Alum Works

  1. I would like to get details of the process used to produce Alum at Kettleness my interest ie due to the fact that William Mackridge who was agent for Earl Mulgrave who owned the mines. Where is Sandsend gepraphbically in relation to Kettleness

    Looking forward to your comments

    Bill Mackridge

  2. Theres a hugely detailed English Heritage report on Kettleness AI/24/2003 which costs about £15

    Theres a book called “Steeped in History: the Alum Industry of North-East Yorkshire” but those arent particurly easy to come by.

    Teesside Archives sell a small cheap booklet on the subject
    Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society Volume 2 – The Alum Industry in North Yorkshire.

    Although it would be worth checking with them as I don’t think their availability list is particularly up to date.

    Kettleness is about 3 miles NW of Sandsend


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  4. I have been in the jet mines under the flat plain mentioned. Access by climbing down the cliff a little (facing Runswick) and sliding in on plastic bags to keep the mud off through a small hole.
    I noted the access holes when going off from Ruswick in my (now stolen) boat.
    One can be accessed, but there is anotherto the right as you face the cliff but is on the face of the cliff. My uncle says as a kid he went into some others (yet to be located by me) where he crawled over a fall to find candles and tools of the miners. He grew up in Runswick- (Taylors and Pattons) His grandad was Joseph ‘aud laugh’ Taylor.
    Supposodly laughing at a storm aged 12 from his place in the bow of a fishing boat.
    He was bowman for the lifeboat for many years.

  5. Apologies, went a little off subject.

    Out of interest, if you walk over the rocks off kettleness beach, you can find the remains (base stones) of a large jetty/port wall running parallel to the cliff.

    There is a similar structure to be seen off lingrow near the kilns(?) which is more obviously a jetty.

    By the way, are those two things some sort of kiln related to alum? they get a lot of onshore wind straight into them.

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