Love, Lime and Leaving a Legacy: Why One Dedicated Volunteer Keeps Coming Back for More

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We’re grateful to have some incredible volunteers at the SPAB. At last year’s Boxley Working Party, we spoke with Mark Murthwaite-Price, a local volunteer who keeps the lime kiln at our Old House Project burning all year round. Find out why he keeps coming back for more... 

How did you get involved with the SPAB? 

About a year ago I was just walking past the Old House Project and there were some cars parked outside. I popped in, said I like old buildings and asked what was going on. I asked if I could volunteer – and I’ve been here ever since! 

Did you know much about lime kilns before you started here? 

Before coming here, I had no prior experience with lime. I watched lime specialist Stafford Holmes conducting a burn a few times, bought some books, watched documentaries and did a lot of research on it. I just really love the chemistry and thought I could give this a go. I started burning from there and literally haven’t stopped. 

Mark Murthwaite-Price smiling in front of the lime kiln

Volunteer Mark Murthwaite-Price and 'Katie' the lime kiln © Rachel Stoplar

How often do you volunteer? 

I spend an awful lot of time with Katie (that’s the name I’ve given the lime kiln!). I come down here Monday to Friday, sometimes at the weekends, sometimes for up to 14 hours at a time. At this point, I’ve burned probably about 80% of what’s in that building. I burned all the lime we used at the 2023 Boxley Working Party before the participants arrived. 

What do you love most about your time here? 

I love everything about it. I like the whole lime cycle, the burning, turning stone into quicklime and slaking, the whole process... and then for it to go back into something like this and live for another couple of hundred years or more, it’s almost like leaving a legacy. That’s why I keep coming back. 

If you’re inspired by Mark’s love of lime and would like to get involved too, join us at one of our Working Parties this summer and get hands-on experience repairing old buildings.


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