ARLESEY BLUE LAGOON
The Blue lagoon and the surrounding area has been used over several decades, but it is private land.
The Arlesey Brick and Lime Co. Ltd began operation around 1858 producing yellow gault bricks, lime and cement from the resources taken from the quarry, which is now flooded and known locally as the Blue Lagoon.
The quarry was connected by a tramway to the processing works which fronted the Hitchin Road in Arlesey.
The works stretched 2,000 feet along the Great Northern Railway. Records show that in 1903, 1500 tons of lime and cement was produced weekly. The chalk filled wagons were hauled up from the bottom of the quarry by a steel cable, powered by a stationary steam engine.
The economic growth of Arlesey during this time was significant. With the coming of the Great Northern Railway in 1852 and with it's improved methods of distribution, the subsequent growth of the brick and cement works was immense. Previous to that, steam traction engines hauled the bricks and cement to where they were needed. Shefford just a few mile to the west, had the benefit of a canal and where barges brought in 'coals from Newcastle', they took away 'vegetables from Bedfordshire'.
During the war, the site was used for munitions. When the old silo was finally dismantled for development, the bomb disposal squad was called in to make the area safe. The ordinance was taken to the Lagoons to destroy and frequent explosions could be heard from the village. It took three months to make the area safe. The site was then developed for industrial units and was called the 'Portland Industrial Estate'. The area where the silo stood has since been renamed 'The Crossways Estate'.
The water pumps in the quarry were eventually stopped and the pits started filling with water in 1930. The cement works finally closed in 1932 and the quarry filled with water, creating the lakes that we see today.
The blue lagoon is now a freshwater lake and is 12 meters deep at its deepest point. It has a number of attractions underwater for divers to look at, including some of the old mining equipment and huts, purposely sunk boats and training platforms. It also has an abundance of marine life, including carp and some big pike.