Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Edward Handley, Willesden & Acton Brickworks & Woodside Brickworks, Croydon

In this post I first write about the brickworks that Lincoln brickmaker Edward Handley & his two brickmaking sons had an interest in, in Acton, Middlesex & then I write about son Edward Handley junior b.1866 moving to Croydon, Surrey to own a brickworks there. Edward Handley senior, born in 1836 in Ruddington, Notts. established & owned the Albion Brickworks in Lincoln from 1890 until his death in 1906, with his eldest son William b.1862 then taking over the Albion works until 1912, when it was sold to the Lincoln Brick Co. You can read more about the Albion Works, Lincoln on my East Midlands blog. I have also found Edward Handley senior owned shares in two other Lincoln brick companies, these being the Lincoln Brick Co. established around 1882 with works at Waddington & the Bracebridge Brick Co., established around 1876 with works in Bracebridge, Lincoln. This latter company was amalgamated into the Lincoln Brick Co. in 1889. So this post covers the Handley Family interests outside Lincoln starting in 1898.

With being in contact with the present Edward Handley b.1934, son of the second Edward b.1866 & grandson to the first Edward b.1836, Edward has supplied me with information & photos about his family's rich brickmaking past. However with his father dying when he was only 13, Edward's knowledge & recollections mainly centres on the Woodside works after he had been appointed to the Board as a Director in 1957. The family's business ultimately totalled three brickworks & was sold in November 1963 to Hall & Co. Many Thanks Edward for all your help.

Willesden & Acton Brickworks.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1912.

This Willesden & Acton brickworks is recorded in two web articles as being established by Kellett & Sons, (Builders) in 1894 & operating until 1910, but there is a little more to add to this info because on the 11th of July 1898 when the Willesden & Acton Brick Co. was formed & registered with a capital of £50,000 in £10 shares, Edward Handley of the Albion Brickworks, Lincoln became a share holder. This share information comes from a newspaper notice which appeared in the Sheffield Independent dated Monday 18th of July 1898. Also listed as owning shares were A. Kellett, Edwards's sons, William & Edward junior & three more gentlemen who were Solicitors.

The 1901 census records Edward Handley junior as living with his second wife Mary Jane & daughter Mena aged 9 from his first marriage in Acton & a Brick Manufacturer/Employer, so it appears he was running the Acton Works for his father who is recorded in a 1902 newspaper article & at the time of his death in 1906 as the Managing Director of the Willesden & Acton Brick Co. In November 1905 the Middlesex & Surrey Express reported that Edward Handley, MD of the W. & A. Brick Company offered the council four acres of land next to his brickworks on which to build a Refuse Destructor & Edward would then purchase the power generated by the burning of the Council's refuse. If you look at the 1912 map above you will see that the Council took up Edward's offer & built their Destructor. 

This is were things get a bit hazy on what happened next. With Edward Handley senior passing away on the 26th Feb.1906 he made provisions in his Will for his two sons William & Edward junior to be able to purchase his shares in his Lincoln Albion Works & the Willesden & Acton Brick Co., but this appears not to have happened in the case of Edward junior who may have continued to run the Willesden & Acton brickworks until it's closure, but there is also the option that he left this works in 1906. I am assuming without Edward senior's financial backing the Willesden & Acton Brick Co. reverted back to the Kellett family hence the articles recording Kellett as the owners of the works when it closed in 1910. I next found in the London Gazette that the Willesden & Acton Brick Co. held a creditors meeting in November 1911, with the company being liquidated in 1913. Neither of these entries name the actual owners of this company. Up to yet, bricks stamped Willesden & Acton have still to turn up.

Willesden & Acton Works, courtesy of Edward Handley.

Woodside Brickworks, Croydon

Edward tells me that his father purchased this brickworks in 1910 or 1912 from the Executors of the late Horris Parks, however I have since found two newspaper articles which records Edward had established the Woodside Brick Co. in 1909. There is also the option that Edward may have been working for Horris Parks after leaving Acton sometime between 1906 & 1909, but Edward cannot verify this about his father with him being so young when his father died & not being told very much about his family's early brickmaking past. However it does appear Edward was in the right place at the right time when Parks tragically died to then take over the works which Edward was told was at a "knocked down price". So I first write about Horris Parks senior & his son Horris junior & how events lead to Edward junior acquiring this works which in 1909 now covered 46 acres. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1894.

The Surrey Advertiser dated 22nd July 1876 advertises a "Valuable Freehold Brickfield For Sale" amounting to nearly 10 acres at Woodside, Croydon & having an existing lease holder bringing in rent & royalties to the value of £150 per year, with this leaseholder being named as Horris Parks. Whether Horris Parks bought the Brickfield at this date is unknown. 

The 1851 census records Horris Parks senior b.1817 as a brickmaker & living on Whitehorse Road, Croydon, so from this information I am assuming Horris was leasing this Woodside Green works in 1851 with it being only a short distance from his home. The 1861 census records Horris Parks snr, a brickmaker, was now employing 6 men & 2 boys at his works & had moved to 3, Azaff Place, Croydon. Kelly's 1867 edition is the first trade directory entry recording Horris snr with his home address of Portland Road, South Norwood. The 1871 census records Horris snr was now employing 10 men & living at the same address. We also find at this same address was his son Horris Parks junior b.1845, single, who was also a brickmaker & employing 7 men & 2 boys. Now from a later trade directory entry I am taking it that Horris jnr was running a works situated on Mitchell Road, Croydon in 1871. Horris snr is again listed in Kelly's 1878 edition with the home address of Pembury Villa, Portland Road, South Norwood. Newspaper articles record Horris senior's works as the Parks Brickworks, Dickinson Place, Woodside & I have coloured Horris' works green on the 1894 OS map above. The 1881 census now records Horris snr as a retired brick manufacturer, so we know from at least 1881 that Horris jnr was also running the Dickinson Place works at Woodside Green. The 1881 census records Horris jnr was now employing 21 men & 10 boys. Horris jnr aged 42 married Constance Postam aged 32 on the 1st of June 1887 & they went on to have two boys & 1 girl, first living on Selhurst Road, Croydon & then moving to Tennison Road, Croydon. I have not been able to establish in which year Horris senior died. As mentioned earlier Kelly's 1891 edition records Horris Parks junior as operating a brickworks on Mitcham Road, Croydon & there is a newspaper article naming Horris jnr as still owning this works in 1908. 

Edward has a Parks brick which he found in the garden of the house where he lived with his mother after his father's death & this brick is shown next. 

Courtesy of Edward Handley. 

A 1900 description of the Dickinson Place works describes it had a 14 chamber Hoffman-type kiln with the capacity to produce 100,000 bricks per week & was erected by Messrs J. Osman & Co., a Wolff & Co. patented brick dryer & Fawcett wire-cut brickmaking machine. 

The 3rd of April 1909 was the day when events went tragically wrong for Horris Parks junior because he committed suicide by hanging himself with a new halter from a beam in one of his workshops at the Woodside works. The Coroners verdict of suicide whilst being of unsound mind was recorded. Apparently one of his foremen was caught "milking the books" & it is believed the shame of this act lead him to commit suicide. In his Will Horris left effects of £16,726 which in 1909 was a very large amount of money.  

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1910.

So with Edward Handley purchasing this Woodside Green works in 1909 we find in newspaper articles & Kelly's Surrey 1911 & 1913 editions that Edward had named his company the Woodside Brick Company. This 1910 map shows a new entrance to the works had been created via Hermitage Lane. Example of one of Edward's bricks is shown next.

Courtesy of Edward Handley.

Edward Handley married three times with his first wife Elizabeth (nee Seaton) producing a daughter in 1892 called Mena. His second marriage to Mary Jane did not produce any children. Then shortly after the death of Mary Jane, Edward was driving his car through the portcullis at the entrance of his works when it came crashing down just missing the car by inches. This near death experience left Edward badly shaken & needing medical attention. It was while he was in Hospital that he met his third wife, Sister nurse Elizabeth May Casserley, who liked to be called Mollie. Mollie nursed Edward back to full health & love blossomed with the pair marrying at South Norwood Methodist Church in 1930. In December 1934 son Edward was born, Mollie was 32 & Edward was now 68. 

After surviving the 1930's Depression the Woodside brickworks prospered under Edward's guidance & Edward recalls that to his knowledge his father was the only local manufacturer to make facing bricks from the London blue clay which was found in the deepest part of the claypit. Above this blue clay was a different type of clay which was used to make yellow London stock bricks.

In September of 1939 under the orders of the Ministry of War & within a week Edward had to cease all brick production, extinguish all fires, empty all kilns of their bricks & make ready the works to accommodate soldiers & staff belonging to a Canadian army battalion. These troops were later involved in the Normandy Landings. In September 1944 a V1 (doodlebug) fell on the brickworks narrowly missing two chimneys & ending up in the water filled claypit where it exploded on impact, luckily no one was killed or seriously injured. Apparently the Germans got their location wrong as this bomb should have been aimed at Handley Page's aircraft works in Cricklewood, North London. Lord Haw-Haw announced on the radio that the bomb had successfully destroyed this aircraft works & this bemused it's owners & workers when they turned up at the works to assess the damage. However Handley's brickworks did suffer damage from the many bombing raids & one kiln was totally destroyed with another one being found to be beyond repair & had to be demolished. A total of 1,000 incendiary & H.E. bombs landed on the brickworks resulting in roofs being blown off, office windows smashed & machinery being destroyed. 

Edward Handley died on the 2nd of February 1946 & the rebuilding of the brickworks was placed into the hands of Trustees, Jack Milsted, Edward's widow, Mollie, daughter, Mena & three other Trustees who had been elected to administrate his estate after his death. Apparently in Edward's complicated Will, young Edward (13) was not named as his successor & was only named as a beneficiary, so Edward never got to fully own his father's business, however he did become a Director in 1957. 

So during the harsh winter of 1946/47, 250 workers set about re-building the brickworks & starting production again, which had now been re-named as the Woodside Brickworks (Croydon) Limited by it's Directors. Even with reduced capacity compared to pre-war levels the works managed to produce 500,000 bricks per week. The substantial amount of money needed to rebuild & restart the brickworks came from the Government's War Damage Commission. In turn this money originated from an agreement between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt & Winston Churchill using American money from the "Marshall Plan" to re-build Europe. Apparently the UK received the lions share of this money which amounted to 4.3 billion dollars & it took the UK Government 61 years to re-pay back this loan.

Photo by Edward Handley.

As you can see from Edward's photos the Croydon skies were dominated by the brickworks chimneys with one having Handleys Bricks emblazoned upon it made from Staffordshire white bricks. Although this photo only shows six chimneys the works had seven in total.

Photo by Edward Handley.

This brick is in a collection in Cambridge & was photographed by me.  

 This brick is in a collection in Birmingham & was photographed by me.  

The works consisted of three Staffordshire kilns & two Hoffmann kilns. Wire-cut bricks were made using Bennett & Sayer machinery & together with pressed bricks the works output amounted to seven & a half million bricks being produced in 1950. The claypit at this date was 80 feet deep. 

Photo by Edward Handley.

With profits now increasing Percy Davis became Joint Managing Director with Jack Milsted. Then in 1951 the Directors of Woodside took the opportunity to purchase the Newdigate Brickworks in Surrey for £50,000. This yard with a small workforce was only producing hand-made bricks from the Wealden clay, so with the 45 acre site having a huge reserve of clay to the depth of 200 feet, steps were taken to put in machines to increase production. A second brickworks owned by the Ashford Brick, Tile & Pottery Co. Ltd was purchased in 1961 for £80,000. Covering 20 acres this works had a 12 chamber continuous kiln producing 250,000 bricks per week. Both these purchases were made to help with the dwindling clay reserves at Woodside. 

In 1957 Edward, now aged 23 was elected to the board of Directors & was made responsible for the operations of the kilns together with Jim Cridge. After leaving school in 1952 Edward went on to study all aspects of clay & it's manufacture which included pottery, bricks, fire bricks & drain pipes at the College of Ceramics in Stoke on Trent. A further six months was spent at the Keymer Brick & Tile Co. in Burgess Hill, learning every job in the yard. Edward's final six months was spent at the Sneyd Brick Co. in Stoke.

1959 was a bit of a crunch year for Edward & one he was not looking forward to with his father making the provisions in his Will that when he reached the age of 25 that he would as the Testator's son, distribute the quarter share which was due to his half sister Mena now aged 67. Mena made the decision that she wanted either cash or for someone to purchase her shares, but Edward was not in the financial position to do either, so it was stalemate for several years with the other Trustees not being able to see how the matter could resolved.

As I wrote clay reserves were starting to deplete at Woodside & between 1960 & 1963 London blue clay was brought to the works everyday by lorries which had been extracted while digging the Walthamstow to Victoria underground line. However there was much debris in this clay which included drift wood & pieces of metal & £70,000 was spent on new machinery to rid the clay of this debris. Common bricks were then made from this London blue clay & some of these bricks made their way back to the stations on the Victoria Line, but they are hidden behind the stations white ceramic tiles. Another temporary solution to keep the brickworks operational was to take the waste material (pulverised fuel ash) from Croydon B coal-fired power station (site now Ikea) which had sufficient carbon in it to help fire the bricks. 

With the winter of 1963 being a particular bad one & with brick sales being at an all time low, many avenues were explored on how Mena could receive her money from the Trust. After many schemes were considered by the Trustees, the London & Yorkshire Trust were instructed to offer the three brickworks for sale & they were bought by Hall & Co. in November 1963. With this sale Edward received his cash share from the Trust & Mena received hers. The remaining beneficiaries of the Trust are Edward’s three children who inherit the remainder of the Edward Handley Estate (Edward b,1866) after Edward’s death. All staff kept their jobs & were transferred over to Hall & Co. with the exception of Edward, he was the only one to be made redundant. 

Hall & Co. were a long standing South East family building supplies firm who continued to operate Handley's three works until 1972 when Hall & Co. now a public limited company was purchased by Ready Mixed Concrete. Then in 1976 Ready Mixed Concrete took the decision to sell it's brickworks division & in this process the Woodside brickworks was closed down for good. Today housing, open land, a new primary school, a children's playground, the equipment of which was financed by the National & Croydon Playing Fields Association & the aptly named Brickworks Meadow Country Park occupies this former brickworks site.


Link to a 16 mm Black & White film of the works made by Brian Jones in 1974.

Link to Edward's Article in the South Norwood Review Winter 2011, page 11.

Information for this article also came from Edward's book.
Of Bricks & Men. ISBN: 9780906047279  

Sunday, 3 October 2021

West Bromwich Brickworks

Parish, West Bromwich

Photo by William Whitehead, courtesy of the Old Bricks website.

Henry Parish b.1823 a Coal Master is listed as owning a brickworks on Church Lane, West Bromwich in Kelly’s 1868, 72 & 76 editions & this brickworks & his Hall End Colliery were situated on land behind the Nags Head Inn which Henry was also the owner/publican at. It appears from a newspaper article that with the sale of Samuel Chavasse's Church Lane colliery taking place at Henry Parish’s Nags Head Inn in May 1866 it resulted in Henry purchasing the colliery. The 1871 & 1881 census records Henry Parish as a Coal Master & victualler at the Nags Head Inn, West Bromwich, employing 70 men & 10 boys. The 1871 census records Henry's two sons Joseph b.1848 & George Henry b.1852 living with Henry, but with no occupation. We then find sons Joseph & George Parish went into partnership with Joseph running the colliery & George the brickworks & George is listed as brickmaker in Kelly’s 1876 & 1880 editions at Church Lane. The brothers were also dealers in lime.

The 1881 census for George Henry records him as a brickmaker & living in Great Barr & the 1891 census also records him as a brickmaker, but now living in West Bromwich. However the 1885 OS map below shows the Church Lane brickworks had gone with only the old kiln still standing & this ties in with George's last trade directory of 1880, so I can only assume George was brickmaking for someone else in Great Barr & West Bromwich after the Church Lane works had closed, which appears to be shortly after 1880. Also note on this map is that both the brickworks & the colliery were situated behind the Nags Head Inn on Church Lane. In the 1901 census George Henry aged 50 was living in North Bromsgrove & a Manager of a Brickworks. The 1911 census records George Henry aged 60 as a Commission Agent (Brick Trade) living in Rubery, Birmingham. Following Joseph in the census reveals he later worked at an Iron foundry.

Photo by William Whitehead, courtesy of the Old Bricks website.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1885.

Freakley Bros, West Bromwich

Photo by Arnold William, courtesy of the "Old Bricks" website.

With what information that I have found on the Freakley Brothers it has created more questions than answers, so I start with the London Gazette Notice dated 9th of September 1881 & this Notice records that John Freakley of Capponfield, Bilston & Joseph Freakley of Mill Street, Ryecroft, Walsall had instituted proceedings of putting their company into Liquidation & the first meeting with the company's creditors would take place on the 30th of September. The brothers company is given as Freakley Brothers, Lyndon Brick Works, West Bromwich, Brick Manufacturers, & as stone dealers at Coseley Moor, Tipton. It appears from a newspaper notice index dated 30th of September 1881 that the brothers company was wound up.

As to the location of this Lyndon Brickworks, I can only suggest it was in the area which I have coloured green next to Lyndon House ? Another option is that the Lyndon Brick Works had been renamed the Shrubbery Brick Works (owners unknown) by the time of this 1885 map. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1885.

Now with this notice saying the brothers were stone dealers at Coseley Moor I have found a brickworks next to Coseley Moor Furnaces, situated between Tipton & Swan Village, but this maybe coincidental. However on Bob's Brownhills website there's a bit of information on which railway bridges the blue bricks made by the Freakley Brothers of Tipton where used, so did the brothers own this brickworks that I have found at Coseley Moor as well or is this article just recording the fact that the brothers operated from Tipton with them being stone dealers there ? As said this entry has created more questions than answers, so if you can help, please email me. Thanks.

More Brickworks will be added, as time allows, so please call back. 

Oldbury, Tividale, Tipton & Dudley Port Brickworks - part 1

Oldbury Brick Co.

The Oldbury Furnace Yard Brick & Tile Co. Ltd. is listed with offices at 82 New Street, Birmingham in Kelly’s Birmingham 1883 edition. Then the 1884 Worcestershire edition of Kelly’s reveals the Oldbury Furnace Yard Brick & Tile Co. Ltd. was on Inkerman Street, Oldbury with Joseph William Howlett as Managing Director. Kelly’s 1888 edition now records the works was being run by Joseph William Howlett in his own name. The London Gazette dated 25th of March 1890 records the Oldbury Furnace Yard Brick & Tile Co. had been struck off the Joint Stocks Register & were declared Insolvent. The 1886 OS map below shows there were two brickworks on Inkerman Street & the Oldbury company's works was the one nearest Freeth Street which I have coloured green. The next owners of this works in Kelly’s 1892 edition were Allbrooke, Haynes & Allbrooke & their entry reads Furnace Yard Brickworks, Oldbury (Late Oldbury Brick Co.). The other brickworks on Inkerman Street, called the Newfield Brickworks was owned by Pynson Wilmot Bennitt.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1886.

Samuel Barnett & Sons, Dudley Port

I first start by telling you about Samuel Barnett's father John & grandfather William who were brickmakers on Portway Road, Oldbury. William Barnett 1802 - 1881 is listed in trade directories from 1865 to 1880 as brickmaking on Portway Road, Oldbury, then Kelly's 1884 edition lists John Barnett at the Portway Road works. The 1851 census records John as an engineer, but by the 1861 Census John was a brickmaker & living on Portway Road, so I think it's safe to say he was working at his father's brickworks. The 1851 census records William & wife Mary were living on Shidas Lane with the 1861 & 1871census recording them as living on nearby Eels Street which is marked on the map below just off Portway Road. William a Brick Master in the 1861 census was employing 4 men, 4 women, 4 girls & 11 boys. I have coloured William & John's brickworks purple on the 1882 OS map below. The other Portway Road works on this map were owned by John Sadler (red) & Septimus John Sadler (yellow). Shidas Lane is coloured green. John Barnett is recorded as retired & living on his own means in the 1891 census, so it appears he sold his brickworks around 1885/6 (last TD 1884) to John Sadler because the 1900 OS map no longer shows his brickworks & the land the works had stood on, now formed part of an extended clay pit belonging to John Sadler's Shidas Lane brickworks. So far no bricks stamped W. Barnett or J. Barnett have turned up.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

John Barnett's son Samuel was the only one of his three sons to become a brickmaker/brickworks owner. Samuel was born on the 7th of April 1854 & in the 1881 census while his father is listed as a brickmaker & a publican at the Three Crowns on Portway Road, Samuel is listed as an Agent aged 26. However  a 1907 British Clayworker article states that at the age of 16 he lost his left arm in an accident in the Mill house of the brickworks he was working at & then for the next ten years until 1882 he worked as an Engineer. Samuel then returned to brickmaking taking a lease out on the Rattlechain Brickworks in 1882. Samuel soon turned around this unprofitable brickworks replacing the fourteen arched kilns with one continuous kiln to produce red bricks & one continuous kiln to make the highly profitable blue bricks which lead to output increasing to 180,000 bricks per week. The 1891 census records Samuel as a Brick Master (owner) aged 38 & living on Brades Road, Oldbury. The first trade directory entry found for Samuel Barnett is in Kelly's 1892 edition which records him with the address of Park Lane, East Tipton & this will have been the Wellington Brickworks as shown on the 1884 OS map below. Samuel had taken over this works in the late 1880's. Samuel then preceded to buy the freehold to the Goveland & Tividale estates which lead to him to build another works called the Stour Valley New Brickworks on this land.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1884.

Kelly's 1896 now records Samuel Barnett (red & blue) with three brickworks, Wellington, Rattlechain & the Stour Valley New Brickworks in Dudley Port, Tipton. The last two works are shown on the 1902 OS map below, with the Wellington Brickworks being situated just off the top left hand corner of this map.  

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1902.

The 1901 census lists Samuel Barnett, Brick Manufacturer aged 47, sons, William b1878, Brick Yard Manager: Joseph b.1880 & Thomas b.1882, both as Brick Yard Clerks; Arthur b.1884, Auctioneers clerk & finally Bert b.1886, no trade. Kelly's 1904 edition onwards only lists the Rattlechain & the Stour Valley New Brickworks & there is the addition of & Sons Ltd to the company name & we know from the census that Samuel's sons had been working for him since at least 1901. The Wellington Works does not appear on the 1901 map, so this works must have closed around 1898/9, houses are shown built on the brickworks site in 1901.

The 1911 census lists Samuel Barnett aged 56, a Brick Manufacturer, Employer & living at 1 Tividale Road, Tipton. Sons Joseph 30 & Bert 28 were still living with their father & both are listed as Brick Manufacturers Assistants. Meanwhile in the 1911 census sons William 33 is listed as Brick Manufacturer - worker & Thomas 29 as a Brick Master - worker & these two brothers were living next door to one another at 154 & 152 Tividale Road, Burnt Tree respectively. So with all of Samuel's sons being listed as workers they were working for their father at his two works. Son Arthur did not join his father in the family business.

In December 1914 Samuel Barnett purchased the freehold to Gower Brickworks together with it's brickmaking plant, machinery, 6 kilns & other buildings for £3,200 at Auction. From a web article it appears Barnett purchased this works to stop a rival brickmaker moving into his "territory". He then set about dismantling the works & sold the land for landfill. The sale of Gower Works came about by the Wood Brothers being declared bankrupt on the 3rd of November 1914, so a very quick turn round by the administrators dealing with this bankruptcy. 

A tragic accident occurred on the 4th of May 1918 when Samuel Barnett was thrown from his pony & trap after his horse was startled by a traction engine, thus resulting in him dying from his injuries, more can read at this Link. Son Bert was also in the trap & was thrown out, but survived the ordeal.

It appears sons William & possibly Thomas took over the running of the brickworks with both being beneficiaries in Samuel's Will. Probate records he left a cool £57,789 14s & 10d which equates to well over a million & a half pounds in today's money.  

Kelly's 1928 edition lists the company of Samuel Barnett & Sons Ltd as only operating the Stour Valley New Brickworks, but a web search reveals the Rattlechain Brickworks was operational in the 1960, but it is unknown who was operating this works. With the death of William Barnett in 1929, aged 51 it appears the Stour Valley New Works closed as the company & this works is not listed in Kelly's 1932 edition. 

Photos by Elizabeth Thomson.

Research has revealed that the brickworks operating as the Titford Brick Co. situated on Penncricket Road just south of Titford in an area called the Ashes was also established by Samuel Barnett (b.1854), the exact date of which is unknown. The 1902 OS map is the earliest map showing this works. After his death in May 1918 his eldest son William took over the running of this works & the two remaining works in Tipton. There are no trade directory entries for the Titford Brick Co. William Barnett died in 1929 & both his sons were Master tailors, however at the time their mothers death in 1952, Samuel is listed as a Company Director & William (junior) as a Clothier. Going back to William Barnett's 1929 Probate Notice, Brickworks Manager Mr. E. Harrold is listed as a beneficiary, so was Mr Harrold running the Titford Brick Co. for the family after William's death ? On the 14th of August 1959 the Titford Brick Co. was placed into voluntary liquidation by Chairman A.E. Barnett. The completion of the liquidation of the Titford Brick Co. took place on the 10th of May 1960. I have not been able to ascertain who’s son A.E. Barnett was.

Below is the 1937 OS map showing the works & two bricks made by the company. Today this former brickworks site is the Dale Road Industrial Estate next to the M5 & Blackheath is just off the bottom of this map. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1937.

Photo by Rob Sutton.

Rob Sutton who is Chair of the Moor Pool History & Preservation Society in Harborne, Birmingham came across these bricks while he was researching the history of the building of the "Garden Estate" where he lives. 

More Brickworks will be added as time allows, so please call back. Thanks.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Sadler, Brickmakers in Oldbury, Tividale, Lye, Harborne & Middlesborough

Web searches reveal that much has been written about John Sadler brickmaker in Oldbury & his famous chemist nephew Samuel Alexander Sadler, so I endeavour to bring you information on all of this Sadler brickmaking family which spanned four generations, owned brickworks in five towns, mainly in Oldbury. I have divided this post into the many brickworks owned by the family & who worked them rather than going down each branch of the Family Tree which I have included at the end of the post to hopefully guide you through the many brickmakers & other family members who played a part in the Sadler Empire. Please note there are many gaps to which I do not have the answers to, so if found I will update the post. Also only a few Sadler bricks have turned up, so if you have images of Sadler bricks not shown in this post, please contact me via my email address which is on the Contacts Tab at the top of this Post. Thanks.

Churchbridge - Stourbridge Works, Oldbury.

Please note this yard/works was operated by the first & third generations with several years inbetween. So I start with the founder of the Sadler dynasty, Benjamin Sadler b.1777 & he is listed in Kelly's 1850 trade directory as brickmaking at Churchbridge, Oldbury. The 1883 OS map below shows there were three brickworks on Churchbridge at this date, but trade directories list several more brickmakers were operating yards at Churchbridge in the 1850's & 60's, so these smaller yards had either disappeared or were absorbed into these three larger works by 1883. I have established the location of Benjamin's yard from newspaper articles & trade directories which later record this works as the Stourbridge Works & his yard will have been situated within the area which I have coloured yellow on the 1883 map below.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1883.

How long Benjamin was brickmaking before this 1850 trade directory entry is unknown, but I have a 1856 newspaper notice advertising a clay mine & brick yard "For Let" consisting of kilns & clay mill capable of producing red & blue bricks which was situated in a prime location in town next to the canal & on the Turnpike Road. Although this brick yard is not named in this notice, only Benjamin's Churchbridge yard fits the bill. From my findings Benjamin may have died in December 1850 hence the Churchbridge yard being made available for Let. What has drawn me to this conclusion is that in the next part of this notice Benjamin's sons Samuel & James were selling wagons, horses & carts which were no longer needed from their Portway Road stables, so had they come from the Churchbridge Works ?

With the Churchbridge yard being possibly let to J. Barnsley & Son (Kelly's 1870) & then George Titley (Kelly's 1872 & an 1875 article) we then find the Sadler Brothers had moved from their Paddock Brickworks at Rounds Green to Churchbridge by 1876, establishing the Stourbridge Works on this site which is shown on the 1883 OS map above coloured yellow. Kelly's 1876 & 1880 editions read Sadler Brothers, Stourbridge Brick Works, Oldbury. These are the only entries in the Brick Manufacturers section for the Brothers as we next find the Sadler Brothers are listed in the Firebrick Manufacturers section in Kelly's 1884 & 88 editions at the Stourbridge Works. Therefore I am assuming the Brothers owned the marked Highfield Colliery from which they extracted coal & fireclay. A newspaper article dated August 1880 records that the Sadler Brothers of the Churchbridge Fire Brick Works or their agents were allowing girls to work on a Sunday which was not allowed by law. For breeching this offence the Company Agent George Newman was fined 40 shillings plus costs. I have mentioned this 1880 article because it refers to the Stourbridge Works as the Churchbridge Firebrick Works thus confirming that the Stourbridge Works had been built on the site of the Churchbridge yard owned by Benjamin Sadler. 

So who were the brothers in Sadler Brothers at this 1880 date. It appears to be the son & daughter-in-law of James b.1817 - d.1878 & James Nash who were in this partnership. I cannot rule out anymore of James' sons as being in this partnership at an earlier date, but at this moment in time I only have written evidence from the London Gazette of this partnership at the time it was dissolved in October 1887 when it consisted of Benjamin Thomas Sadler b.1839, Maria Sadler b.1838, wife of Septimus John Sadler & had previously been married to another of James' sons James Millership Sadler who died in 1874 & then John Nash a cement manufacturer & executor of James Sadler's Will, hence his connection to the family. This LG Notice then records Benjamin Thomas Sadler alone would then continue to run the aforementioned works. Benjamin Thomas Sadler is not listed in Kellys 1892 edition as owning this works, so I am assuming this works was sold as we find John Mathews is listed as brickmaker at Churchfields in Kelly's 1892 edition. I write more about Benjamin Thomas at two other works later in the post & I will be covering father James Sadler & brothers James Millership Sadler & Septimus John Sadler later in the post under their appropriate works.

With me mentioning John Nash a brick dating from the 1860's/70's stamped Nash has turned up. Although John Nash is not listed as owning a brickworks in trade directories only lime kilns & a cement works which was situated just off Portway Road & next the Sadlers brickworks I can only assume with Nash's long standing association & in being in partnership with the Sadler Family that Nash had these bricks made at one of the Sadler's works. John Nash is also recorded as representing the deceased James Sadler in another Sadler partnership being dissolved in 1880, so his connection to James Sadler was very close.

Photo by Angel Rose.

Paddock Brickworks, Oldbury.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

The first reference to the Paddock Brickworks being owned by a Sadler is in Kelly's 1850 edition when Samuel Sadler b.1807 & Benjamin's eldest son is listed as brickmaker & builder with the address of Rounds Green which I am taking to be the Paddock Works in Rounds Green. In this 1850 directory Samuel's brother, James b.1817 is listed as owning the French Horn Inn, Littlefields, which was a stones throw from this yard, then brother John b.1820 is listed as a builder on Shidas Lane. John served his joinery apprenticeship under Samuel. Then there's one more brother to tell you about & that was David b.1812 & he was a Boatman all his life, so David would have transported the Sadlers bricks & coal along the canal network. David's son Samuel b.1834 after being recorded as a Labourer at a Brick Yard in the 1861 census joined his father as Boatman (reference 1871 census). 

The two 1851 census entries for Samuel & James both record the brothers as brickmakers in a "Firm of Two" in each entry, operating as S & J Sadler. This 1851 census also records the brothers were employing 36 men, 10 women, 8 boys & 30 girls. Slaters 1851 edition lists Samuel & James Sadler brickmaking at the Paddock works & another works on Portway Road & I write about this Portway Road works later in the post.

Samuel Sadler passes away in October 1861 at Dog Kennel Farm, his abode, leaving £8000 which equates to nearly a Million pounds today. The 1861 census records James was living at Langley Hall which he had purchased in 1855, so the brothers were making good money from brickmaking. Langley Hall still stands today & can be seen at this link

Samuel & Hannah Sadler did not have any sons, daughter Mary Ann married John Field & their daughter Nancy married a brickmaker, so I have included Henry Jackson later in this post as he plays a part in this Sadler story.

It appears James Sadler continued to operate the Paddock Works under the S & J Sadler company name until 1865 when the entry in Jones 1865 edition is Sadler Brothers & this partnership I believe were James's sons. As previously wrote this Sadler Brothers partnership when it was wound up consisted of James' son Benjamin Thomas b.1839, daughter-in-law, Maria & cement manufacturer, John Nash, but in 1865 I think it was just Benjamin Thomas, b.1839 & Maria's first husband, James Millership Sadler b.1838 (James junior). 

J.M. Sadler - James Millership Sadler, Photo by Colin Wooldridge.

James Millership Sadler is recorded in the 1861 & 1871 census as a Brick Master with the 1871 census recording he was employing 14 men & 3 boys. James Millership & Maria's son Frederick Ernest Sadler b.1867 is recorded as a Foreman at a Boiler Works in the 1891 census, so did not follow in his fathers footsteps. James Millership Sadler died in 1874 & a newspaper article dated March 1879 records the partnership of Sadler & Sadler had been dissolved, so I am thinking this is when James Millership's widow, Maria & John Nash joined Benjamin Thomas in Sadler Brothers. Maria then married another one of James' sons, Septimus John Sadler in 1875 with Septimus's wife passing away, in October 1874.

Photo by Peter Earley who spotted this coping at Camp Hill locks on the Grand Union Canal in Birmingham.

So back to the Paddock Works & a November 1865 newspaper advertises, "Wanted, a Forman, who thoroughly understands the manufacturing of Blue & Red Bricks. None need to apply whose character will not bear the strictest inspection. Apply Sadler Brothers, Brick works, Oldbury." The Sadler Brothers continue to be listed at this Paddock brickworks in Kelly's 1870 & 72 editions. 

As previously wrote the Sadler Brothers then moved to their new Stourbridge Works on Churchbridge by 1876 as we find that John Hamblet & Charles Crowther are listed as operating the Paddock Brickworks in 1876. It also appears George Newman continued to be the Sadler's Agent at their new Stourbridge Works. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

Before I sign off on the Paddock Brickworks a new find in Littlebury's 1873 directory lists the Sadler Brothers as brick, fire-brick & enamelled work manufacturers at Littlefields, so it appears the Enamel & Fire Brick Works which I have coloured yellow on the map above was also owned by the Sadler Brothers, with this works forming part of the adjacent Paddock Brickworks. With viewing old maps I had always wondered who owned this Enamel & Fire-brick Works & with finding an article recording Benjamin Thomas Sadler was exporting fire-bricks to India & China I am assuming he was making these fire-bricks at this yellow coloured works. A newspaper advert dated November 1875 also confirms the Sadler Brothers owned this yellow works as it reads "Two Good Fire-brick Moulders are required at Sadler Brothers Round Green Works, good wages given, Apply to George Newman.". Benjamin Thomas also operated another brickworks in his own name on Freeth Street & I write about this works later.   

Portway Road Works, Oldbury.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

The firm of Samuel & James Sadler are first listed at their Portway Road works (coloured yellow) in Slaters 1851 edition. This entry also records their Paddocks works. Kelly's 1860 edition is the next listing for the brothers at Portway Road. As wrote Samuel passed away in October 1861 so it appears James continued to operate the company of S & J Sadler on his own with Jones 1865, Kelly's 1870 & 72 editions continuing to list S & J Sadler at the Portway Road Works. 

The next change at this works comes in 1876 when James sons, Septimus John b.1849 & David Millership b.1850 are running the Portway Road works. James had eight sons of which five became brickmakers & three became chemists working in the tar industry. One of these chemists, Charles Alexander also ventured into brickmaking as well when living in Middlesborough & I write more about Charles Alexander later. 

At this point I have decided to leave the Portway Road works & return later to carry on with James' family, as I wish to write about James' younger brother John Sadler b.1820 & this then completes the four sons of Benjamin (the 2nd generation).

Shidas Lane Works, Oldbury.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

After completing his apprenticeship as a carpenter under the guidance of his elder brother Samuel, John Sadler b.1820 established his building & brickmaking business on Shidas Lane around 1849. The 1851 census records John Sadler as a Carpenter & Brickmaster employing 1 man & 2 apprentices, married to Harriet with 2 boys & 4 girls, living on Shidas Lane. John went on to have another son called Philip John Sadler b.1859 who I write about later. The first trade directory entry that I have for John Sadler at Shidas Lane is in Slaters 1851 edition. Billings 1855 edition records John as a builder & victualler at the Builders' Arms. 

I have coloured John's Shidas Lane brickworks red on the 1882 OS map above. An advert in the Birmingham Journal advertises John Sadler, a Brick Master had one million "Good" red & brown bricks for sale & could be delivered into boats at 16 shillings per thousand. Kelly's trade directories continue to list the brickmaking company of John Sadler, Shidas Lane right up to it's 1936 edition. John's eldest son Samuel became a builder & son number two, James became a carpenter, so we later find that it was John's third son Philip who took over the running of the Shidas Lane brickworks when John retired & this was some time after the 1891 census, but before the 1901 census when John is recorded as a Brickmaker Retired & living at Gladstone House on Portway Road. John had named his house after William Gladstone with him being a staunch Liberal. 

John's son Philip is first listed in the 1891 census as Brick Yard Manager aged 32. Then the 1901 census records him as a Manager of a Brickworks & running his fathers company which in 1900 was registered as John Sadler & Sons Limited with John as Chairman & Philip as Managing Director. John's son Samuel & Edward Pincher completed the list of Directors. John Sadler died in December 1910 leaving £9000.

Philip's son Wilfred then joins his father at the works & he is listed in the 1901 census as a Brick Works Clerk aged 17. The 1911 census records Philip as a Manager of a Brickworks & son Wilfred is listed as a Assistant Manager at a Brickworks. The 1913 OS map below shows the Shidas Lane works (red) had expanded & the purple brickworks as shown 1882 map, owned by the Barnett family back then had now become an extension to the Sadler's claypit.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1913.

It is unknown in what year Wilfred took over the running of the works from his father, but the 1939 Register records Wilfred as a Director of a Brickworks Company. Philip died in December 1940 leaving nearly £21,000, equalling nearly 1.2 Million today. A web article records the Shidas Lane marl hole was exhausted in the 1940's & was filled in by the 1970's, so it appears the works closed sometime in the 1940's with Wilfred at the helm. Today this former brickworks site is the local council's refuse depot.

Portway Road Works, Oldbury - part 2.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

As left off James was still running the Portway Road Works up to 1876. So I now turn my attention to the eight sons of James (3rd generation), two of which take over the running of the Portway Road Works. 

Kelly's 1876 edition records Septimus John Sadler b.1849 & David Millership Sadler b.1850 were now running the Portway Road Works. I slightly turn the clock back to tell you that Septimus John in the 1871 census is recorded as a Shoe Dealer, but we find in a London Gazette Notice dated 21st November 1871 that Septimus John Sadler as a Shoe Dealer & Shoe Maker was going into Liquidation, however this notice also records he was a Brickyard Manager & I am assuming this was at his father's Portway Road Brickworks. Meanwhile brother David Millership is recorded as an Apprentice Traveller aged 20 in the 1871 census & living with his father James, a Brick Master & widow living on Causeway Green Road. This apprentice traveller job may have been as a brick salesman. 

It's at this point that I tell you that Septimus John's wife Ann died in October 1874 & in 1875 Septimus John married Maria Sadler (nee Smithyman) who had been married to his brother James Millership Sadler, who had died in 1874. Maria was 12 years older than Septimus John & brought 4 children into the marriage 3 girls & one boy who I have already written about. Septimus John had 1 girl & 1 boy with Ann. Septimus John & Maria then went on to have 1 more son who I will write about later.

Now back to 1876 & this Kelly's 1876 advert recording brothers Septimus John Sadler & David Millership Sadler had taken over the Portway Road Brick Works, previously run by their father James & their Uncle Samuel (Late S & J Sadler).

This partnership of Septimus John & David Millership Sadler did not last long as we find the London Gazette records this partnership was dissolved on the 5th of February 1879 & the said Septimus John Sadler would then continue to run the business. We then find in the 1881 census David Millership Sadler is recorded as a Brewer in Oldbury. This was not the end of David Millership's brickmaking career as we find by 1890 he was running the Thorns Fire Brick Works in Lye, Stourbridge & I write about this works later. 

S.J. Sadler - Septimus John Sadler, Photos by Elizabeth Thomson.

Meanwhile with Septimus John now in full control of the Portway Road Brickworks this advert below appeared in Kelly's 1880 edition.

The 1891, 1901 & 1911 census all record Septimus John as a Brick Maker or Brick Master. Kelly's directories continues to list Septimus John Sadler up to it's 1924 edition, but with Septimus John dying in 1918 the brickworks was then run by his son Charles Alexander b.1876 who ran the brickworks in his fathers name. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1913.

Charles Alexander in the 1901 census aged 24 is recorded as a Brickworks Manager still living with his father & mother Maria. The 1911 census now records Charles Alexander aged 34, a Brick Manufacturer, married to Beatrice with two daughters & living in Langley Green, so we know by 1911 Charles Alexander had taken over the running of the Portway Road brickworks from his father, (coloured yellow on the 1913 OS map above). This 1913 map also shows that with the Railway Brickworks & Nash's limekilns no longer shown it appears Charles Alexander had taken over the land & had built a tramway to the canal were they had once stood, so was Charles Alexander having to bring clay in via the canal if stocks were getting low in the clay pit ? 

With the company of Septimus John Sadler not being listed in Kelly's 1928 directory I am assuming the brickworks had closed by this date. Kelly's 1932 edition reveals the answer with Charles Alexander Sadler now listed a Rubbish Contractor on Portway Road, so I think I can now say the clay pit was exhausted by 1928, hence the brickworks closing. 

Septimus John's other son Septimus James Sadler b.1871 also was involved in brickmaking, first as manager then as the owner of a brickworks, both in Tividale. I write more about Septimus James later in the post at these two works. I cannot rule out that at some point Septimus James was working for his father at the Portway Road works.   

Freeth Street, Oldbury.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

I now turn to James' second eldest son, Benjamin Thomas Sadler b.1839 & I have already wrote about him being in the partnership of the Sadler Brothers, first at the Paddock Brickworks then at the Stourbridge Brickworks, but there are two more trade directory entries for him brickmaking on Freeth Street in Kelly's 1876 & 1880 editions, then one entry for him brickmaking on Portway Road in Kelly's 1884 edition. 

The 1882 OS map above shows that the Freeth Street Works (coloured green) was accessed from both Freeth Street & Inkerman Street. The Newfield Brickworks was also situated off Inkerman Street & this was owned by Pynson Wilmot Bennitt between 1865 & 1888. By 1884 Benjamin Thomas' Freeth Street works was being run by the Oldbury Furnace Yard Brick & Tile Co. & we find that in Kelly's 1884 edition Benjamin Thomas was now operating a works on Portway Road. I am not 100% certain which brickworks Benjamin Thomas was working at in 1884 because other than John Sadler's Shidas Lane works which bordered Portway Road & Septimus John's works there is only one more working brickworks shown on the 1882 OS map (below) which could be accessed from Portway Road. William Barnett (Kelly's 1880) & then John Barnett (Kelly's 1884) are listed as owning a brickworks on Portway Road & this small brickworks which I have coloured purple will have been owned by the Barnetts. Therefore there are two options that I can offer were Benjamin Thomas was brickmaking. First option is that he was working at his brothers, Septimus John's works (yellow), or his Uncle John's works (red). The second option is that Benjamin Thomas reopened the disused brickworks shown on this 1882 map (below) which was on the corner of Portway Road & Shidas Lane. There are no more trade directory entries for Benjamin Thomas after 1884, so he may have finished brickmaking soon after. 

In the 1861 & 1871 census Benjamin Thomas Sadler is listed as a Brick Master. The 1881 census records him as a Merchant, 1891 a Manufacturer, 1901, a Commissioner, Agent for Bricks & then 1911 a Blue Brick & Pipe Merchant. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

An 1886 article in the Smethwick Telephone newspaper reports that Mr. B.T. Sadler had just completed an extensive Government contract to supply bricks to India. The article continues to report that Mr. B.T. Sadler of Sadler Brothers had been exporting fire bricks to India, China & several other countries for a number of years. 

Benjamin Thomas also had fingers in many other pies, he was running the Windsor Castle public house in Rounds Green in 1865, by 1873 he owned The Old White Swan Inn on Church Street which include a Museum of Curiosities (stuffed animals & birds) & a "Powerful Mechanical Organ." In 1872 he was on the Local Board of Health in Oldbury. A 1885 local newspaper records he was advertising the acts (singers, dancers & comedians) who were performing at his Museum Concert Hall which was within the Old White Swan Inn. Then a newspaper advertisement dated December 1886 records together with William Shakespeare, Benjamin Thomas was selling the Freehold to the Tividale Brickworks previously owned by Messers Gilbert & Sons, whether the pair had purchased the works or was just brokering the deal is unknown. By 1890 Benjamin Thomas was a Justice of the Peace. Non of his five sons followed him into brick making with two emigrating to America & one going to Australia. Benjamin Thomas Sadler died on the 14th of July 1921 aged 82, so he certainly had a good eventful life. 

Mill Lane, Harborne

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1882.

In the 1860's & 1870's this works on Mill Lane, Harborne was owned by James Sadler b.1817 & J. Sadler & Sons are listed at Harborne in Kelly's 1867 edition through to Kelly's 1872 edition & from information found it seems to indicate this works was run on his behalf by his 4th son William Henry Sadler b.1845.

William Henry Sadler is recorded in the 1861 census as a brickmaker & boarding with Joseph Bennett a farmer at Sharpway Gate, Dodderhill just south of Stoke Prior, Worcestershire. A disused brickworks is shown at Stoke Prior on the 1883 map, so I am assuming William Henry worked there. The 1871 census records William Henry aged 26 living together with his wife Ellen & one daughter at Metchley Lane, Harborne. William Henry is listed as a brickmaker & employing 12 men & 3 boys, he also employed a servant to look after the house. So with the 1867 trade directory listing for his father owning the Mill Lane brickworks I am assuming that was when William Henry moved to Harborne. 

A London Gazette Notice dated 2nd of August 1871 records  that the partnership between James & his son William Henry had been dissolved by mutual consent & the business would then carry on by James Sadler alone. We then find that White's 1873 edition now records Marshall Frederick Raybould at the Mill Lane works, so James must have decided to sell the works soon after the partnership with his son had been finalised. I have not been able to find William Henry in the 1881 census, so what happen to him afterwards is a mystery. As a footnote, James Smart ran the Mill Lane brickworks before James Sadler took over in 1867 with James Smart then taking over a brickworks in California, Birmingham & I have written about James Smart at the California brickworks in Birmingham Brickmakers - part 3.

Photo by Rob Sutton.

With Rob Sutton finding this Green & Chatham, Tennal Road, Harborne brick & David Kitching finding info for a brickmaker called James Chatham, this brick may have been made at the Mill Lane brickworks ? I first established there was no brickworks on Tennal Road, Harborne & no trade directory entries for this duo. David then found James Chatham in the 1861 census is listed as a Brick Burner, living on Mill Lane, aged 48 & all his sons were Brick Setters. The 1871 census records James as a Master Brickmaker employing 7 men & 2 boys & still living on Mill Lane. So had James Chatham worked for James Sadler or his son William at Mill Lane before taking over the yard after James & William Sadler had dissolved their partnership in 1871. Chatham then ran the Mill Lane works until Marshall Frederick Raybould took over in 1873 ? There are loads of if's & but's with this theory, so if I get any firm evidence on this brick I will update this section. As to the Green in this partnership, David found in the 1871 census that there was a Mr. Green as a close neighbour to Chatham who was a Carter, so was he the partner on this brick. A Carter was someone with a horse & cart who made deliveries. 

Hange Brick & Tile Works, Tividale.

First I write about Septimus James Sadler's early life before he owned the Hange Brickworks at Tividale. Septimus James Sadler b.1871 was the son of Septimus John Sadler of the Portway Road Brickworks. The 1891 census records Septimus James Sadler aged 19 as a Manager of a brickworks & living with his father & mother on Joinings Lane, Langley, so I am assuming around 1891 Septimus James was working for his father at Portway Road. 

Nine years later we find a newspaper article dated 22nd December 1900 recording Septimus James as a co-owner of the Gower Brickworks, Tividale together with John Hadley & John Walter Knowles as Hadley, Knowles & Sadler. There are no trade directory entries for this partnership or the Gower Brickworks (coloured yellow on the 1902 OS map below), but I think I am right in saying with Septimus James being listed third he would have only been a junior partner. John Hadley previously owned the Ramrod Hall Brickworks & he is listed as owning this works in Kelly's 1876 & 1880 editions & I think he may have established the Gower Brickworks sometime in the 1890's with the 1900 map being the first map to show this works. 

The 1901 census records Septimus James Sadler as a Brick Manufacturer (employer), living with his wife Catherine on Nyley Lane, West Bromwich which according to the census was near Ireland Green. As I cannot find this road it may have been misspelt in the census or I have read it wrong with it being in copperplate hand writing.

The partnership of Hadley, Knowles & Sadler did not last long as we find a August 1901 London Gazette Notice records Septimus James Sadler was leaving this partnership & the Gower Brickworks would then be run by John Hadley & John Knowles from the 28th of June 1901. 

Hange Blue Brick Works, Tividale, Photo by Ian Round, courtesy of the "Old Bricks" website.

I think the reason why Septimus James left this partnership was because it then enabled him to establish the Hange Brickworks at Tividale, coloured green on the 1902 OS map below. This brickworks had been built next to Hange Collieries No. 2 Pit. I have no proof of Septimus James actual establishing this works in 1902, however there are some smaller buildings on the 1882 map, but they are not marked as a brickworks, unless it was a brickworks belonging to Hange Colliery & Septimus James just built a new brickworks on the same site as we see on the 1902 map.

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1902.

Kelly's 1904 edition lists The Hange Blue Brickworks,Tividale with Septimus James Sadler junior as proprietor. I think the reason why Septimus James was calling himself junior in this entry was because his initials were the same as his father's & he wanted to distinguish his bricks from his father's & the example below shows Septimus James was using junior on his copings. 

Photo by Bill Whitehead, courtesy of the "Old Bricks" website.

There are no more trade directory entries for Septimus James at Tividale, but the 1911 census records him as a Brick Manufacturer, then on the next line Traveller, living at 13, Park Road, Smethwick with wife Catherine & one daughter. If I am reading this census correctly it appears Septimus James was still running the Hange brickworks & was the company's salesman. The surveyed 1913 OS map shows the Hange Brickworks as disused. I expect the 1921 census will reveal what Septimus James did next when published in 2022. However the 1939 Register reveals Septimus James aged 68 is listed as Brickworks Manager & living on Monmouth Road, Smethwick. The only Sadler brickworks still operational in 1939 was John Sadler's Shidas Lane works run by Wilfred Sadler, so Septimus James may have been working there ?   

Thorns Fire Clay & Brick Works, Lye, Stourbridge.

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1902.

As previously wrote David Millership Sadler b.1850 in the 1881 census had become a Brewer & was living at Dog Kennel Farm, but we find in the 1891 census he had returned to brickmaking & is listed as a Brick Master living on Vicarage Road, Oldbury with his wife Harriet, 2 boys & 1 daughter. From my findings this Vicarage Road address was Dog Kennel Farm & the farm consisted of at least two houses with other members of the Sadler family being listed separately as living at Dog Kennel Farm. 

In what year David Millership returned to brickmaking & took over the Thorns Fire brick works at Lye near Stourbridge is unknown, but a January 1890 newspaper article reports that Thorns Brickworks owner David Millership Sadler as one of the smaller Brick Masters had agreed to increase the pay of his workers when the larger Brick Masters had refused to implement the increase. Mobberley & Bayley are recorded in Kelly's 1888 edition as owning the Thorns Works, so we know David Millership took over the works between 1888 & 1890.

There are no Fire Brick Manufacturer listings in trade directories for David Millership so how long he continued to own the Thorns Brickworks after 1891 is unknown as we find in the 1901 census he is now listed as a self-employed Brick Merchant aged 50 & living on Longsdale Road, Harborne. I have not been able to find a 1911 census record for him, but his wife Harriett is listed as a widow & living on her own means with another family in Smethwick, so David Millership must have died by 1911. 


Samuel Alexander Sadler b.1842 was primarily a chemist specialising in the production of tar & other chemicals. Samuel Alexander first worked for the Chance Brothers at their Alkali Works in Oldbury before moving to Middlesborough where he established his tar & wood distillery business in 1869. Samuel Alexander later went on to manufacturer bricks & fireclay bricks (examples below) at one of his many collieries in the North East. It is though Malton Colliery near Lanchester was the likest colliery were he had his brickworks, but no maps show a brickworks at this colliery. Together with his chemist brothers Jesse Johnson Sadler b.1846 & Alfred Edwin Sadler b.1857 & three others, Samuel Alexander was a co-owner in the Furness Tar Products Company, Ulverston in the county of Lancaster (today's Cumbria) until December 1880 when the partnership was dissolved & Jesse & Alfred Sadler then became the co-owners of this Ulverston tar company. This entry now completes the story of the eight sons (brickmakers & chemists) of James Sadler born 1817. 

Samuel Alexander Sadler was involved in owning other companies & more can be read about his very full life at this link.

Photo by Ian Suddaby, courtesy of the "Old Bricks" website. 

Photos by Chris Tilney, courtesy of the "Old Bricks" website.

Railway Brickworks, Oldbury.

I now return to Oldbury to complete the Sadler story & Henry Jackson owned the Railway Brickworks as recorded in Kelly's 1888 to 1904 editions. Hold on I here you say, Jackson is not a Sadler, but he did marry the granddaughter of Samuel & Hannah Sadler & after the works had closed the land became part of the Sadler's Portway Road Brickworks, of which I write more about later. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1902.

In the 1871 census Henry Jackson aged 14 is listed as a bricklayer. This census also records Henry's father Thomas as a bricklayer & publican of the Apple Tree Inn on Halesowen Street, Oldbury. The 1881 census now records Henry as a Brickworks Manager & married to Nancy S. Field. Nancy's mother Mary Ann Field nee Sadler was the daughter of Samuel & Hannah Sadler. As previously wrote Samuel b.1807 had been in partnership with his brother James at the Paddock & Portway Road Works. In this 1881 census Henry & Nancy Jackson were living with Nancy's mother Mary Ann Field aged 53 & grandmother Hannah Sadler aged 73 at Hannah's home, Dog Kennel Farm. So this begs the question was Henry Jackson a Brickworks Manager at one of the Sadler's works ? There is another option which I will reveal in a moment. 

The 1891 census now records Henry Jackson as a Brick Manufacturer & Kelly's 1888 edition records Henry Jackson as the owner of the Railway Brickworks, Oldbury as shown on the 1902 OS map above coloured green. 

Trade directories from 1865 to 1884 editions list the Railway Brickworks as being owned by Aston & Jackson, so was Henry a Brickworks Manager at this Railway Brick Works as per 1881 census before he became it's owner between 1884 & 1888 ? As said Henry's father was a bricklayer all his life, so I think I can discount Thomas Jackson as being in this Aston & Jackson brickmaking partnership. However there was a William Jackson brickmaking at two works situated off Park Street, Oldbury in 1880 & 1884 & I am leaning towards William Jackson as being the Jackson in this Aston & Jackson partnership at the Railway Brick Works. If I get to the bottom of this Aston & Jackson partnership, I will update the post. There must be some family connection between Henry's father Thomas & brickmaker William Jackson because in the 1871 census Thomas & his family were living on Park Street, hence my thought's Thomas being related to this William Jackson. A George Jackson is next recorded in Kelly's 1888 edition as owning the Park House Brickworks, so could he be William's son & had closed the other Park Street works which is no longer listed in trade directories & is not shown on the 1902 map ?

Back to Henry Jackson at the Railway Brick Works & the advert below appears in Kelly's 1892 edition.  

Kelly's 1892 edition.

Henry in the 1901 census is still listed as a Brick Manufacturer. The last trade directory entry for Henry Jackson at the Railway Brick Works is Kelly's 1904 edition & I am assuming it was around 1905 that Henry closed the works & sold the land to Septimus John Sadler or his son Charles Alexander Sadler as we find the 1911 census now records Henry aged 55, a Retired Brick Manufacturer & living with his wife Nancy & their three daughters at "Hillside", Bishops Road, Sutton Coldfield. Henry & Nancy did not have any sons. With looking at Google Street View there is a good chance this "Hillside" house is still standing, as they all look well appointed houses built around the turn of the 20th century & would have been a fitting home for a gentleman with money in his pockets. Ten years earlier in the census Henry & family are recorded as living on Coleshill Street in Sutton Coldfield. Bricks stamped Henry Jackson have yet to turn up.

So with the Sadlers now owning the former Railway Brick Works site we find Charles Alexander Sadler is recorded as the owner of the Railway Brickworks Colliery Company in articles dated 1915 & 1918 & it appears from the name of this colliery it was on the former brickworks site. As previously wrote in the Portway Road brickworks entry the 1913 OS map below shows a tramway built from the canal to the clay pit & I assumed clay was being brought in via the canal, but this tramway may have had something to do with the colliery, especially if it was a drift mine & they were finding coal under the beds of clay. The National Archive index articles on the Railway Brickworks Colliery Co. record that the extraction of coal from under Portway Road & Inkerman Street in 1914 & 915 was causing damage to properties built on these roads & also to the water mains. The Colliery closed in 1919, so I expect this was due to all these damage claims. Charles Alexander also owned the Speedwell Colliery in Langley which is recorded as working in 1918 & closing on the 16th of May 1919. 

We known the Portway Road brickworks closed around 1929/30 as we find Charles Alexander Sadler is recorded as a Rubbish Contractor on Portway Road in Kelly's 1932 edition. I am assuming Charles Alexander Sadler was filling the marl hole with rubbish. Today industrial units occupy 90% of the Portway Road site (yellow). 

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1913.

During my research I have established there were 15 Sadler's involved in brickmaking during some part of their lives & if I include Maria Sadler (partner in Sadler Brothers) & Henry Jackson that totals 17 in all. 

I have marked the Sadlers involved in brickmaking with a star after their name on the Family Tree below. This tree only includes the Sadlers that I have wrote about in this post (brickmakers & other trades), but I have found several more sons who's career took them in a different directions, these namely being the sons of Benjamin Thomas Sadler, Samuel Alexander Sadler & David Millership Sadler. There is always the option that they may have been involved in brickmaking at some point during their lives, if so I will update the post if new info turns up. I have tried to follow the daughter's of these Sadler's to see if they married any brickmakers & as far as I can see only Nancy Field, grand-daughter of Samuel Sadler, married Henry Jackson. However there was another daughter who married into the Pratt family who were brickmakers in Oldbury, but this daughter married a son who's father was a solicitor & appears not to be involved in the brickmaking side of the Pratt family.

Sadler Family Tree.

A larger pixel version of this tree can be viewed at this link. Where you can zoom in on each brickmaker. 

I wish to thank the following for their help in bring this post to the web.

Mark Cranston for finding me many old newspaper articles which played a big part in bring this post to the web.
Angel Rose - photo
Colin Wooldridge - photo
Peter Earley - photo
Elizabeth Thomson - photo
David Kitching - photos
Old Bricks website - use of their photos
National Library of Scotland & Ordinance Survey - maps
Kelly's Directories
London Gazette