From 1962 to 2009 Westbury Cement Works produced over 700,000 tonnes of cement a year. For thirty-seven years its iconic 400-foot-tall chimney breathed its steamy breath under the hills of the White Horse escarpment - the escarpment that provided the all-important deposits of chalk and clay, the two main raw materials used in making cement.
In 2016 demolition of the works began. Some people were glad to see the site disappear, but many were sad. It had provided many jobs. Friendships had been forged within its working community and some had spent their entire working lives there. Some people even looked upon its chimney with a fondness that is normally associated with a good friend. At 7 a.m. on an overcast morning in September of 2016, the dormant chimney fell to the ground. For many that signalled the end of the cement works. But on a far smaller scale, and without the production of cement, working life on site resumed.
Westbury Cement Works will live on in the memories of the people whose lives it touched in one way or another. Here, Simon Knight looks to preserve those memories, and, with an array of original and archive photography, offers an insight into a once busy working community that meant so much to so many.
Simon Knight is a qualified commercial drone operator, instructor and examiner who has always had had a passion for photography and model flying. With the advent of ever more sophisticated drone technology, 2016 seemed like the perfect time to start a Wiltshire based aerial photography business. Fortunately, this coincided perfectly with the demolition of Westbury Cement Works; which proved to be a challenging, but very interesting first project to start a business on.