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Into the limelight Use of lime to repair old brickwork and masonry has been regarded as something of a black art. David Bennett find out why lime mortar is now becoming popular in restoration work.

For centuries lime was the only product widely available for mortars and renders. Lime production supported a cottage industry of stone kilns that stretched from John O'Groats to Lands End. The mortar was relatively easy to manufacture provided there was a source of limestone or chalk, a kiln that could reach a temperature of 900C and a pit dug into the ground to form a slaking tank. With the revival of stone building at the start of the medieval period, the use of lime became universal ...

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