Moira Furnace Museum, Leicestershire – 22nd June 2019

Moira Furnace Museum, , Leicestershire – 22nd June 2019


For more details please check our write up for the 2018 investigation

The History of the furnace:

Sir Francis Rawdon Hastings, the second Earl of Moira, built the furnace in 1804. It was built to produce iron which was used to make machine parts, tram tracks and cannonballs amongst other things.

It was built in 1806, at a cost of £30,000, beside the newly opened Ashby Canal which was to bring raw materials to the furnace and carry the finished iron to be sold in other parts of the country

The furnace worked from 1806 -1807 and again in 1810 until 1811 when it was blown out. Despite plans to restart operations later in 1811, and even to build a second furnace to operate alongside the first, it appears that no further iron smelting took place. When restoration took place on the furnace in 1981 it still contained a working charge (the last lot of rocks ever poured in to the top).

Something went wrong during smelting that damaged the furnace beyond repair. It seems that the top of the furnace (rather than the bottom) became much too hot causing the chimney lining to melt and fall into the furnace.

After this, the furnace was shut down though the foundry attached to the furnace carried on working for another 40 years or so using iron made elsewhere.

Moira’s future lay with coal not iron. The furnace building survived because it was used as cottages, some of which were lived in until the 1970s.