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ALBION BURNING HOUSE

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Albion Burning House is a late nineteenth century building housing two reverberatory calciners and a central working room. It is believed to be the best surviving example of a reverberatory calciner in the country. It is associated with the small Albion/Atlas Mine which produced tin and iron, but also copper and arsenic as late as the 1920s. It would have been used to extract arsenic from tin ore. It is located in Middlecott Wood, 240 metres to the North East of Trumpeter near Ilsington. In 1977, the building was in use as a hay barn but it was still said to represent 'a textbook picture, rendering the functioning of this type of furnace very easy to understand'.

Calciners were structures used to extract arsenic from mined ores by controlled heating. By heating the ore under oxidising conditions the arsenic content could be sublimed off as a vapour, which cooled and condensed to form a white 'soot' or powder. The refined arsenic had a variety of uses such as: metal alloy, clarifying glass, medicinal purposes and to create pigment in paint.

Albion Burning House is built of large dressed granite blocks, except for part of the western end which is built of granite and slatestone rubble. It has red brick dressings and internal finishings and a corrugated iron roof. It has a rectangular 3 cell plan with a central room and two furnaces either side. Above the furnaces in the east and west cells were storerooms in which ore was kept. Each furnace has a segmental brick vault containing a hopper, through which the ore was shovelled from the storeroom above. The fire was positioned against the gable wall with an external access to the north and an ash pit below. Below the furnace was a cooling chamber also with external access. Two flues led out from the furnaces to a detached stack to the north. It is Grade II listed.

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