Saturday, 20 September 2014

Avoncroft Museum near Bromsgrove

I first came across the Avoncroft Museum from the many bricks photographed at the museum which are posted on David Sallery's Penmorfa brick site. So after checking the web for opening times & what else there was to see at the museum, a visit was planned. 

The museum near Bromsgrove is a mini village containing buildings which have been rescued & faithfully rebuilt in a setting to match their original location. Most of the buildings contain items & tools for which they were originally used for, like the blacksmith's shop & chain shop. All of these buildings were either rescued from the bulldozer or ones which had fell into neglect. 

Now on to some of the bricks I photographed that day.

These are small bricks which had been made on site by the machinery they have installed to demonstrate how bricks are made. You can buy one of the Avoncroft bricks from the souvenir shop as a keepsake of your day at the museum.

10.12.14 - Bromsgrove - Avoncroft Museum have just updated me on the maker of this brick as Samuel Frisby at Tardebigge. So for information about Samuel, please see the entry further down the post.

The J on this brick is reversed & was made by Joseph Lee Stinson, Brockmoor, Brierley Hill & he is recorded in Kelly's from 1864 to 1872.

Founded in 1885, The Hartlebury Brick & Tile Co. is recorded in Kelly's 1900 Trade Directory with W.H. Bill as manager. In the 1912 edition J.B. Hill is now the manager, to be followed by H.G. Hill in 1921. In the 1924 edition H.G. Hill is now recorded as Proprietor. The Company continues to be listed in trade directories until the last available one in 1940. Whether directories were produced after this date I do not know, but the Hartlebury brickworks is still in production today. 
The site of the original works was purchased in 1950 by Baggeridge Brick. A second works was built by Baggeridge on the Hartlebury Trading Estate in 1986. In 2006 Baggeridge was taken over by Wienerberger & the original Hartlebury site was mothballed. The Waresley Brickworks on the Hartlebury Trading Estate continued under its new owners & is still in production today as Wienerberger's largest UK factory. It was announced in July 2014 that the original Hartlebury works was to be reopened, creating 36 new jobs to meet the ever increasing demand for bricks.

In 1881, Thomas Hawley who lived at Park Hall was successful in his application to build brick kilns on his land, on which he ran a market garden business called The Cherry Orchard. These kilns were not built until seven years later & the works operated under the name of Mason & Dall. A railway siding was soon added & this was followed by the renaming of the works to the Cherry Orchard Brick Company around 1889. This works was Kenilworth's last brickworks to close in 1977 & is recorded in Kelly's Trade Directory from 1900 to 1940.
I have pasted a link below with a little bit more information about the works & how the site looked in 2003.

Joseph King & Co. are recorded in Kelly's 1860 Directory at Netherend, Cradley through to the 1908 edition. They produced red bricks & terracotta at their Chapel Terra Cotta Works on Park Lane in Cradley, Halesowen. 

I first have a reference to the office building of the Batesford Estate brickworks at Aston Magna near Morton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, which was in production in the late 19th century, as being converted into a Pentecostal Church. By 1977 this building ceased to be used & is now derelict.
From the Gloucestershire Archives on the web, there is a reference to the cost of laying railway sidings to the Aston Magna Brick & Tile Company in 1902/3 by the Great Western Railway. The Aston Magna B.&T. Co. is recorded in Kelly's Worcestershire 1908 edition at Aston Magna, Moreton in the Marsh, Gloucestershire with Robert Allen Rossborough as Manager. 

Postcard of the Aston Magna Brick Works, showing the railway sidings into the works.

The Leamington & Lillington Brickyard Co. Ltd. Lillington Road, Leamington is recorded in Kellys 1884 edition with Thomas Mills as Managing Director. The works was just off today's Villiers Street in the town & was in operation until the 1950's. The former works is now a green open space & houses were built around the site in the 1960's & 1970's.

Samuel Warr was born in 1832 at The Delph, Brierley Hill, Staffs. In the 1851 census, aged 19 he is recorded as brickmaker & then in the 1871 census now aged 39, he is recorded as brickmaker & employing 7 men, 9 women & 4 boys at Lyde Green. Samuel is also recorded in trade directories as brickmaker from 1865 to 1878. 
In the 1891 census, he is now recorded as Coal Dealer in Stratford in Avon & then same again in the 1901 census.

The Ketley Brick Company had it's origins in Kingswinford, Dudley & is recorded in Kelly's 1880 edition with William Wood as Manager. In the 1892 edition the company is now listed as the Ketley Blue Brick Co. at Kingswinford with W.T. Skelding as Manager. In the 1908 edition W.T. Skelding is now Managing Director & the company has been renamed the Ketley Brick Co. Ltd. It's in Kelly's 1932 edition that the Company is first recorded at Nagersfield, Brierley Hill as well as at Kingswinford. Both of these works continue to be listed in the last two available editions in 1936 & 1940.
The Company produced red & Staffordshire blue bricks & was purchased in 1964 by local firm Hinton, Perry & Davenhill Ltd. who operated the Dreadnought Brick & Tile Works at Pensnett. In the takeover all of Ketley's production was moved to the Dreadnought Works. It may have been at this time that Hinton, Perry & Davenhill renamed their company, Ketley Brick Company. The Ketley Brick Company is still in production today at Pensnett. So with this brick saying Brierley Hill it was probably made between 1932 & 1964.

John Taylor is recorded in Kelly's 1860 edition to it's 1872 edition at Linthurst, Lickley, Bromsgrove. John is also listed in the Bromsgrove Trade Directory from 1865 to 1878 as brick & tile manufacturer & coal merchant at Newton Linthurst, Blackwell. From the two entries John made bricks for 18 years.
Information provided by Bromsgrove Library.

Henry Wheelock who originated from Leicestershire in 1879,  is recorded as brick & tile maker & coal merchant at Newton Linthurst, Blackwell in the Bromsgrove Almanack & Trade Directory between 1879 & 1886.
Information provided by Bromsgrove Library.

We next find Henry Wheelock recorded as Managing Director at the Linthurst & Barnt Green Brick, Quarry & Tile Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in the 1888 edition of the Bromsgrove Trade Directory with P. Levens as Secretary. 
I then have a second reference for L.& B.G. Brick Co. from Kelly's Worcester 1912 trade directory, with W.J. Tilt, Managing Director & Francis T. Levens, secretary, office at 110 High Street, Bromsgrove & works at Linthurst, Blackwell. 
Recorded at the dates below in several editions of the Bromsgrove Trade Directory, the Company is then managed by Richard Wheelock in 1890, John Wheelock 1899 to 1912 & John junior 1914 to 1939.
Information provided by Bromsgrove Library. Many Thanks.

Studley is a village near Redditch & the works is now an industrial estate, possibly with some of the original buildings still standing.

Made by J.T. Price at his Kingswinford brick & tile works which was situated across the road from Planet Colliery (which he may have also owned) & St. Mary's Church in Kingswinford. All of which can be seen on this 1881 map with the brickworks marked as the Kingswinford Works (brick & tile).

Samuel Frisby operated his Tardebigge works from 1896 to 1910. He had been employed by land owner the Earl of Plymouth to work on the Earl's land at Perry Fields Lane, which was next to the canal to make bricks under an agreement of so many free bricks to the Earl in every batch made. 
Information supplied by the Reverend Alan White who has written a book entitled 100 years of Tardebigge. Many Thanks.

Information from Kelly's Trade Directories, Samuel is recorded in the 1892 & 1896 editions at Perryfield, Bromsgrove then in the 1900 & 1904 editions at Tardebigge, Bromsgrove. The next two entries are for Mrs. A. Frisby at Tardebigge in 1908 & 1912, so his wife carried on the business, possibly after his death. Perryfield & Tardebigge are the same location.

The Alvechurch Brick Works was situated close to the canal in the village & produced bricks from 1860 to 1939. 

This next brick by the same company is stamped W.H. Wynn, a Ironfounder from Birmingham who was the first owner of the works in 1860. I have records of William H. Wynn in Kelly's Trade Directory between 1876 & 1912 making bricks at Scarfields, Alvechurch, Birmingham, with Mr Harry Thompson recorded as manager in 1890. 
Messrs. G.H. & C. Boden father & son, are then recorded as the new owners of the works in 1924. They when on to produce tiles as well as bricks with Mr. G.H. Gittens taken on as manager in 1925. The works next manager was Mr A.G.F. Pitts in 1931 who introduced an extended range of tiles & briquettes for fireplaces to the companies catalogue. With a drop in demand & it's workers enlisting to fight in WW2 plus the constant need to pump the clay pit to stop it from flooding, the decision was made to close the works in 1939. 

Information from Kelly's Trade Directories & an article in a book called Alvechurch 1200 years of History, supplied to me by the Alvechurch Village Society. Many Thanks.

Although these bricks look like they are behind bars. They are in fact stacked on top of one another against the cage which surrounds the brick making machine & are safely held into place at the back. 

William Henry Ward an architect by trade is recorded as being one of the founders of the Birmingham Patent Brick Company in 1874 who's works was on Stonehouse Lane, California, Birmingham situated near to the No.2 Dudley Canal. The other founders of this Patent Brick Co, who also owned their own brickworks were Edward & Henry Loader Ensor of Woodville, Burton and B.W. Blades, West Bromwich. B.P.B.Co. was wound up in 1877 & we later find in 1888 that William Ward is now the owner of this brickworks with Ward being listed in Kelly's 1888 edition at California, Northfield. William Ward continues to be listed in Kelly's directories at this works until the 1908 edition & this brick will have been made between 1888 & 1908.

The origins of the Whitemoor Brickworks in Kenilworth started in 1872 when a lease was taken out by Walter Lockhart to make bricks on land owned by the Hawkes family. Walter made the first bricks to carry the town's name. The works was briefly owned by the Leamington & Lillington Brickyard Co. before it was purchased in 1891 by Henry Hawkes. Henry operated it under his own name until 1930, after which it continued until it's closure in 1957 under ownership which is unknown.

Moorwood, this works may have been in Nuneaton ? 
Updated 11.9.17 - Nigel Furniss has now sent an image of one of these Moorwood bricks with this info to Penmorfa. "Owned by Jee's Hartshill Granite & Brick Co. Ltd. near Nuneaton, Had it's own siding, worked by horses on the Midland Railway, Stockingford branch line. This connection was put in place in the 1890's. The brickworks closed in 1912, so had a relatively short life." 
Now armed with this new info, I found only one trade directory entry for this brickworks in Kelly's 1904 edition which reads - Jees Hartshill Granite & Brick Co. (Charles Kingsley Maxwell, managing director), Hartshill, Atherstone, Warks. A little bit more info about this brickworks can be read on the web page which I have pasted the link to below. Please note that this is a very long post, the Jee's info is three quarters way down the article & concentrates mainly on the quarry side of Jee's business.

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1901.

1901 OS map showing Jee's brickworks at Moor Wood. Also to note on this map is the tramway to the Stockingford branch line & the tramway into Moor Wood where Jee's had their granite quarries. The 1913 map shows the brickworks as disused.

The maker of this brick could be The Blockley Brick & Tile Works, Blockley & the company is recorded in Kelly's Worcestershire 1928 edition. Blockley at that time was an exclave of Worcestershire until 1931, but the village just north of Morton-in-Marsh is now in Gloucestershire. Just to note, this works is a different works to the one known as Northcot Brick.

Further research has revealed that Benjamin Pollard Blockley owned a part share & then took over a brickworks at Bloxwich & he is listed as Benjamin Pollard Blockley, High Street, Bloxwich, Walsall in Kelly's 1896  edition, then as Benjamin Pollard Blockley, Victoria Brickworks, Bloxwich in Kelly's 1904 edition. I also have an article which states that after his initial venture into brickmaking he then purchased Guest, Keen & Nettlefold's engineering works at Hadley, Shropshire possibly around 1898 & after the sale of the works machinery he established a brickworks on the 200 acre site & this brickworks is shown on a 1901 map. So I am now favouring Benjamin Blockley as the maker of this brick as this article also states that he produced pressed bricks before moving over to the more productive wirecut method at Hadley. I expect he also produced pressed bricks at Bloxwich. A brick stamped with the initials BPB (Benjamin Pollard Blockley) has been found from the demolished outbuildings of Ditherington flaxmill, Shrewsbury by a fellow collector, hence backing up my theory that Benjamin made this Blockley stamped brick. 
Benjamin died in 1922 & was followed by his sons Colonel Blockley & Arthur in running the works. Then the works was run by Arthur's son-in-law, Jimmy Wright in the 1960's. Today Benjamin's Hadley works (Trench Lock) which is now accessed from Sommerfield Road is known as Blockleys & is part of the Michelmersh Group. 

Alfred Espley Brickworks Ltd. is recorded in the London Gazette as being voluntary wound up on the 29th of April 1942 and the company disposed of by the liquidator. Information from a family web site states that Benjamin Bomford b.1864 d.1915 was the manager of the Espley Brickworks in Stratford on Avon, but it does not state any dates. Entries in Kelly's Trade Directory records Alfred Espley as brickmaker from 1876 edition to the 1892 edition, then from 1900 to the 1940 edition as Alfred Espley Brickworks Ltd. operating on Birmingham Road, Stratford on Avon.

Information from an article in an American newspaper states that these Commemorative blue bricks, inscribed Charles & Diana 29th July 1981 were selling for $3 each & were made by Barnett & Beddows, brickmakers in Walsall. In it's first week of production the company sold 1000 bricks.

For more information about the Museum, please click on the link.

For photos of the buildings & collections at Avoncroft on my Days Out blog, please click on my link below.

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