The Blue Lagoon, Arlesey, Bedfordshire

NGR TL200340

The Arlesey Brick and Lime Co. Ltd was in operation around 1858 and was producing yellow gault bricks, lime and cement. The quarry now flooded, known locally as the Blue Lagoon, was connected by a tramway to the processing works which fronted the Hitchin Road in Arlesey. The works stretched 2,000 feet along what was then the Great Northern Railway. Records show that in 1903 1,500 tons of lime and cement was produced weekly. The chalk filled wagons were hauled up from the bottom of the quarry by a steel cable powered by a stationary steam engine. Photo G P Page 1996

They were then let down to the works by gravity, a man rode down and stopped them just before the Hitchin Road by spragging the wheels. A small steam engine then took them over the road and shunted them up an incline to empty them into the slurry pits. The empty wagons were then hauled back up to the pit by the cable. The road crossing was controlled by a man who signaled to the winding house by a system of bells.

The economic growth of Arlesey during this time was significant. With the coming of the Great Northern Railway in 1852 and with it improved methods of distribution the subsequent growth of the brick and cement works was immense. Previous to that steam traction engines hauled the bricks and cement to where they were needed. Shefford just a few mile to the west had the benefit of a canal and where barges brought in 'coals from Newcastle' they took away 'vegetables from Bedfordshire'.

The pumps in the quarry were stopped and the pits were filling with water in 1930 with the cement works finally closing in 1932.