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The Third Generation: Beachville White Lime Company

Five years after Standard White Lime was formed, history repeats itself. In 1908, a second Downing-Bremner partnership struck, and a second move west occurred.

A black and white portrait of a man in a suit and tie with his hands in his pockets

Charles Edward Downing, 1923

A black and white portrait of a man with a moustache wearing a suit

John Bremner, 1893

Charles Edward Downing (1887 – 1957) entered the lime business at a young age, working at his father’s quarries and Standard White Lime. As he entered his twenties, Charlie partnered with John Bremner, the son of his father’s business partner. They worked leased land west of Standard White Lime and bought their first property in 1908. At this point, they recruited stakeholders from the Bremner and Downing families to form a new company.
Beachville White Lime was established in 1912, next to Standard White Lime. John Bremner (1863-1914) took on the role of director, and Charlie became the manager. Charlie installed his father as a company advisor. They initially operated at North Oxford, Lot 17, which John Downing retained, as the top layers of soil and gravel (the overburden) were removed from the new site further west.

A cart makes its way up a track on a ramp that leads out of a pit to a set of industrial buidlings.

Beachville White Lime, 1923


Marion Kilcup (1919-2006), the daughter of Charlie Downing, remembers the joys and dangers of the family business. She recounts being at the Beachville White Lime site as a child in the audio clip below.

One image of a man and a young girl on a sidewalk and another of two men working at a conveyor belt covered in stone fragments.

Left: Charlie and Marion Downing, 1922 Right: Conveyor workers, circa 1941

Listen to the audio clip with transcript: Memories of the Quarry – Marion Kilcup.

Marion also recalls that the Downing women became heavily involved in the administrative side of the family businesses as office workers were taken on. Margaret Downing (nee McGill) worked at Standard White Lime as the bookkeeping was transferred from the manager task lists to new staff. Mary Downing (Charlie’s sister), Rose Downing and Helen Smith (both first cousins) worked in the offices of Beachville White Lime.

Several quarry technologies and equipment developments occurred at Beachville’s quarries between 1904 and 1929. Let’s look at how the processes of dislodging, burning, and moving limestone evolved to turn the small family businesses into industry leaders.