Southam (Kaye’s) Cement Works

Southam (Kaye’s) Cement Works

We are indeed fortunate that the cement industry, one of the most important extractive industries in Warwickshire, has received the close attention of local history and cement industry researchers. These include one of our members, John Frearson, honorary archivist for Rugby Cement, who has researched and published booklets on several of the local lime and cement works.  In addition Dylan Moore’s website is a wonderful source of information and Sydney Leleux’s book ‘Warwickshire Lime and Cement Railways’ contains information on the works as well as the railways.

One of John Frearson’s booklets is on Kaye’s Lime and Cement Works and covers the period up to 1934 when it became part of Rugby Cement. Copies of this booklet can be obtained from

Production at the Southam works came to an end early in the 21st. century, although the quarry has continued in use, and ‘clay’ is extracted and supplied to the present CEMEX Rugby cement plant. The Southam works were largely demolished in 2011.

Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society took advantage of the Open Days at the cement works and the attached photographs show scenes taken on a day in 1993 blessed with blue skies over Southam. Is it stretching the imagination too far to suggest the works possessed a powerful, even artistic, presence? 

WIAS President Lyndon (Toby) Cave was a great enthusiast for the industry and one of the photos shows him descending stairs at the plant. Also included is the 1913 office building, with the Kaye & Co. sign clear for all to see. These are followed by photos taken in 2015, with very different scenes to 1993, including the derelict railway line, remnants of Kaye’s canal arm into the works, and some photos of the unique atmosphere of canal life on the arm. Finally, some examples of the housing that made up the Model Village, initiated in 1913 and completed after the First World War for employees at Kaye’s works.

As a footnote, I wonder how long it will be before we are allowed to steer our way to the Blue Lias pub to enjoy a canal-side drink?

© Copyright M. Green May 2020