Industrial Revolution ……in Reverse

Moira Blast Furnace…..

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No its not a Castle….nearly as big and an equally solid construction.  Constructed in the early 19th century and the days of the Industrial Revolution. Moira Blast Furnace was constructed to manufacture Iron.

Raw materials were loaded into the top of the furnace, burnt in the furnaces and the resultant molten Iron released from the base of the furnace. Moira was chosen for the location of this Blast Furnace due to the extensive local supplies of Lime, Coal and Iron Ore from local mines and quarries. Not all of the Furnace buildings remain, gone is the steam pump that provided the continuous blast of air to generate the high heat levels to create the molten Iron.

Gone too are the Casting Sheds where the molten Iron was cast into pigs for transporting….you can still trace the outline of the Casting Shed on the ground immediately in front of the Furnace…..
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Apart from the close proximity of raw materials, it was the Ashby de la Zouch Canal, that could provide vital transport links to the industrial heart land of the Midlands that defined its location…..
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Its life was a short lived. Built in 1804, first fired up in 1806 and closed in 1844. Records indicate that a number of factors were to blame. Poor design of the Furnace, bad management and operating procedures and finally cheaper imports. The decision to shut down must have been sudden as the last charge of materials and molten Iron are still within the Furnace Tower.

The buildings were to have a second life. The offices and warehouse were converted to houses and were in use till about 1970 after which the complex was abandoned. Now restored it is a Visitor Attraction with a small museum and adjacent Craft Centre and Parkland.

Moira is about 5 miles from Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire

16th May

(C) David Oakes 2015

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