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Discover Prestongrange

Hoffman Kiln

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Towering over the complex is the last of many chimneys from which poured smoke escaping from the brick kilns below.

The low-lying building nearby is the sole surviving kiln on our site.

It is called a Hoffman Continuous Kiln, originally a German design, but this kiln is a variant designed by Cleghorn and built in 1937. At their peak, these vast chambers baked thirty thousand bricks at one firing.

There are twenty four open chambers here. The raw clay bricks would be placed in each. Once the kiln entrances and chamber divisions had been bricked up and sealed with clay paste, the firing would begin. During the firing, coal was added through vents in the roof. A firing lasted fifty hours or more. The brickworks was one of the most successful operations at Prestongrange and outlasted the pit by more than a decade. The works continued by importing clay and coal right up to the 1970s.

If you choose to enter the kiln, please be wary of the uneven surfaces, low doorways and poor lighting.

© 2004 East Lothian Council