Duddon Iron Furnace

A well preserved 18th Century charcoal-fixed iron ore furnace

Duddon Iron Furnace

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Within the area of the Duddon Bridge and within local woods is sited The Duddon Iron Furnace, a well preserved 18th Century charcoal-fixed iron ore furnace, which began operating in 1736.

The Duddon site is one of the best surviving examples of charcoal fired iron furnaces in England. The setting within the Duddon Valley was perfect as it already had access to charcoal and locally mined iron ore in the form of ‘West Cumbrian hematite‛ In an  area where charcoal could be cheaply produced, locally mined iron ore was mixed with small amounts of limestone and smelted with charcoal to produce pig iron for transport and processing elsewhere. Much of the finished product was shipped elsewhere and this pig iron was then used to make iron products for ships, such as chains and anchors. Operation continued until 1867​.

What can still be seen today includes the LEAT which was used to bring water from the nearby River Duddon. This water was then used to drive the bellows to run the furnace. Although by far, the most impressive parts of this site are the charcoal barn which is almost 100 feet long, the furnace stack, standing to its full height of 29 feet and the iron ore store. There is also a single span bridge that would have lead to the charging platform with changing rooms for the workers lying  beneath it. Sadly the furnace hearth has been removed but ​the industrial heritage  of the site lives on, as the wood is still called Furnace Wood.

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Jenny Brumby
Duddon Villa
Borwick Rails, Millom
Cumbria, LA18 4JU
Tel: 07793 613 557
Email: jennybrumby@btinternet.com