On a trip to Charmouth (to the dentist!) I had time for a meander down to the beach before catching my bus back home, where I came across the Heritage Centre. Being out of season the centre wasn't open but I was intrigued about the building itself, which has the distinct look of originally being something industrial at one time.
I later found out that it was once a cement crushing
mill and lime kiln. Built during the 1850's, the venture sadly failed
and the Old Cement Factory, as it is known locally, soon fell into
disrepair. It now houses a beach cafe and a fossil shop on the ground floor, as well as the Heritage
Centre, which takes up the top floor.
Part of the lime kiln can be seen at the back of the building (above). Lime was an important commodity, used as a fertiliser by farmers, as well as for cement making. Easier to transport by boat, and also an area for limestone quarrying, many old lime kilns can be seen along the West Dorset and East Devon coast.
The front of the building (above); the portico with steps leading upstairs is a later addition. The rear of the building (below) shows more clearly the flint & rubble fabric, which is a building material local to this part of the coast.
And finally, a view of the beach during my visit.
A few more photos can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album along with these.