Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cawarden 3

Another batch from Cawarden which I photographed in October 2015.

I start with this "wonderfully" named Ramrod brick. Ramrod Colliery & Brickworks was on Thorne Road, Whiteheath Gate near Rowley Regis & this works is recorded on two O.S. maps dated 1856 & 1902. Kelly's 1904 & 1908 editions list this works as the Ramrod Hall Brick Co. at Whiteheath Gate, Blackheath, Birmingham. I have found that Lord Dudley owned the colliery, so I expect he also owned the brickworks. The name Ramrod came from nearby Ramrod Hall which was built by Birmingham Iron Master William Hunt on land leased from the Earl of Dudley when all of this area was still open countryside. William Hunt produced iron ramrods for the British Army at his Brades Ironworks during the American War of Independence 1775 to 1783 & this is how his residence later got it’s name. Under mining on this land resulted in Lord Dudley repurchasing the lease back from Hunt & the Hall fell into disrepair & was demolished. At the time William Hunt lived at his grand gentleman's residence, he neither called it Ramrod or Hall, it was only his workers & local residents who gave it the nickname of Ramrod Hall. The Ramrod name was then used for the "new colliery" which was sunk to the west of the Hall around 1849. The brickworks was more than likely established at the same time with the brickworks being shown on the 1856 map. The brickworks is shown on the 1902 map below & it is unknown when the works exactly closed, but it may have been when the colliery closed due to flooding in 1923. Today a school is now built on the site of this former brickworks.

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

1902 OS map showing the location of Ramrod Hall Brickworks with Ramrod Hall sandwiched in-between the colliery & brickworks at this date. Also to note is the tramway (coloured red) which goes from the colliery to the main road & then to the brickworks, hence backing up my thoughts that the brickworks was owned by the Earl of Dudley.

Update 25.9.17.
I have just found two earlier trade directory entries which relate to this works. The entries appear in Kelly's 1876 & 1880 editions as John Hadley, Ramrod Hall Farm, Rowley Regis. So I expect John Hadley leased the land/brickworks from the Earl of Dudley before the Ramrod Hall Brick Co. was established in the early 1900's.

Some of the information in this entry came from this web page. 

The Red Hill Bank Brick Works at Rocester was established around 1899 & was in production until the mid 1950's. The site was later taken over by JCB.
Kelly's trade entries for the Red Hill Bank Brick Works.
1900 & 04 - RHBBW, Arthur Hewins, manager, adjoining station, Rocester.
1908 - now Charles Hartley, proprietor. same address.
1912 - no entry.
1916 - Miss M.E. Hartley, proprietress, Rocester, Stafford.
1921 - RHBBW, T. & J. Bradley Ltd. proprietors, Rocester, Stafford.
1924 - no entry.
1928 to 1940 editions - Red Hill (Staffs.) Brick & Tile Co. Ltd. Rocester, Stafford.

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1920.

1920 map showing the location of the Red Hill Bank Brick Works. To see the location of this works in 1899, see map below.
Link to a photo of the RHBBW & railway station. 

The 1899 OS map below shows that there where two brickworks on this site at this date, the Red Hill B/W's & Rocester Brick Co. works, so I have added a brick from the Rocester Brick Co. complete with info from Kelly's trade directories.

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1899.

The Rocester Brick, Pipe & Tile Co. Ltd. is listed in Kelly's 1900 & 04 editions with Thomas Hill as manager & this works is the blue coloured yard on the 1899 map above. With the Red Hill Bank Brick Works being listed in Kelly's up to the 1908 edition as being adjoining the station, this indicates that the Rocester Brick Co. was in production between 1899 (as shown on map) up to 1908 & may have closed soon after with Red Hill Bank taking over their site.

Photo by Frank Lawson taken at the Silk Mill Museum, Derby.

Please note this entry has been updated - 26.1.18. with information received from David Kitching that Joseph Timmis's works was taken over by the Wilkinson Brothers & not by Bentley Tileries as previously wrote. 

Joseph Timmis was brickmaking at his Bradwell Wood Tileries works by 1851. The first listing in Kelly's that I have for Joseph appears in their 1868 edition when the listing is J. Timmis, Bradwell Wood Tileries, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent, Staffs. Joseph continues to be listed in Kelly's until the 1892 edition when the entry is Joseph Timmis & Sons. This 1892 entry continues until the 1916 entry when Limited is added & the works is now classed as being in Longport. From David Kitching website, David records that William Herbert Timmis had become the proprietor of the company in 1899. The 1916 entry continues up to the 1924 edition. This 1924 entry is the last entry for Joseph Timmis & Sons Ltd as the works was then acquired by Jabez & Samuel Wilkinson in 1924 who continued to operate the Bradwell Wood Tileries Works until it closed in 1966.

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1899.
1899 map showing the location of Timmis's works which had access to the Trent & Mersey Canal & a tramway connecting the works to a siding on the London Midland Scotish mainline through Stoke. Today the A500 cuts through the centre of this former brickworks site with the remains of the clay pits on the left of the road & on the right where the buildings had once stood, this is now the Longbridge Hayes Industrial Estate.

From the web & old maps I have found that this brick was made at Sharlston West Colliery, near Walton, Wakefield. The 1890 map below shows a brickworks near to the colliery, but may have not been associated with the colliery at this date. There is the option that this works was established to provide the bricks needed in the lining of the shaft & roadways when Sharlston West Colliery was sunk in 1890. I expect that it was known that there was a good source of brick clay in this location when the canal was built. 
It is on the 1904 map & then the 1913 map, which I have used below that it now shows that this brickworks is within the colliery site. This brick could have been made around 1890, but this type of frog has been found to be used by other collieries between 1900 & 1940. A fellow collector has also found a brick same as this one in Wakefield & then another one actually stamped Sharlston Colliery in Wortley. 

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1890.

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

Kelly’s 1896 to 1908 Staffordshire editions records William James Collins as brickmaker at Oaken, Albrighton, Wolverhampton. I can only find one brickworks marked on the 1900 map in or around Oaken, so I expect that the Kingswood Brickworks shown on the 1900 map below is where William James Collins had worked.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1900.

The London Gazette records that the company of Coalfield Brickyards Ltd. Clayfield Road, Mexborough, South Yorkshire was being liquidated & any outstanding claims or debts had to be registered by the 11th of August, 1971. Below is a 1948 map showing the Coalfield Brick Works. The 1901 map also shows this brickworks, but is not named as such. What years this brickworks was operated by Coalfield Brickyards Ltd. is unknown, but I have a reference that Yorkshire Amalgamated Products Ltd. took over this brickworks & Mr. Joseph Sherlock from the company was appointed to oversee the re-opening of this works. Mr. Sherlock retired in 1935 & had worked for YAP Ltd since 1918, so the re-opening of this works must have took place sometime between these dates. Mr. Sherlock who originated from Kilburn in Derbyshire had worked with his father at the family's brickyard before moving to Lancashire in his early 20's to work at several different brickworks in that county before working for YAP. Joseph Sherlock junior was appointed manager of the Coalfield Brickworks after his father retirement in 1935. The British Brick Society journal dated May 1983 records that the "Yorkshire Brick Co. owners of the Coalfield Brickworks at Mexborough ceased firing towards the end of 1982. It was the last Pressed Brick Kiln to operate in South Yorkshire." 
As a footnote I ask why did it take so long to declare Coalfield Brickyards Ltd. had gone into Liquidation ? I also have to note that there is the option that this Coalfield brick was made during the Yorkshire Brick Company's tenature of the works to signify that it was made at Mexborough. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1948.

A brickworks with five rectangular kilns & two associated buildings is shown marked on the 1901 OS map just to the north-west of Darlaston & James Bridge railway station, but who operated this works at this date is unknown. The Darlaston Brick Co. are listed in Kelly's 1912 to 1932 editions at James Bridge, Darlaston & the 1912 OS map now shows six rectangular kilns, two other buildings & a tramway to the clay pit, so 1912 may have been the year that the Darlaston Brick Co. took over & expanded the works ? The 1938 OS map only shows the claypit & the six kilns, so the works had closed sometime after 1932, but before the surveying of the 1938 map.

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

Daniel & Samuel Clarke are listed in both Kelly's & White's trade directories from 1893 to 1935 editions as owning the brickworks situated on Greasbrough Road, Masbrough, Rotherham. White's 1901 edition also lists Milton Street & Arthur Street, these streets may have been their home addresses. The brickworks is shown on OS maps from 1901 to 1948 & I have used the 1938 map below to show it's location. An article on the web records that D & S Clarke produced sanitary tubes, red bricks & fire bricks.  

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1938.

William Fletcher is listed in Kelly's 1895 edition in two listings. The first is W.M. Fletcher & Sons, Brookfield Brickworks, Tonge, Bolton, Lancs. & the second is W.M. Fletcher & Sons, Victoria Steam Brickworks, Horwich, Lancs. The listing also contains this info. "William Fletcher, maker of all kinds of common, patent, fire and peculiar bricks, plastic and semi-dry to architects' designs. Slate and sanitary pipe merchant; sand and gravel; also ballast for concrete. Brookfield Brick Works, Tonge & Victoria Works, Horwich."

The Brookfield Works at Tonge is shown on maps from 1889 to 1938 when it appears that the works had an Hoffman kiln. The Victoria Works at Horwich appears on maps dated 1892 & 1907, but is marked disused on the 1927 map & I have used two maps dated 1907 below to show both of these works.

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1907.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1907.

Taylor & Sons are also recorded on the web as owning the Brookfield Brickworks on Hypatia Street, Bolton, so how long William Fletcher owned this works & if Taylor & Sons followed or preceded Fletcher at this works is unknown, as I do not have any trade directory dates for Taylor & Sons.


The first pit to be sunk at Great Fenton Collieries, Stoke on Trent was in 1873 & was owned by the Stafford Coal & Iron Co. The main shareholders of this company were the Duke of Sutherland (who lived at Trentham Hall), C.J. Homer (previously on the board at Chatterley Iron Co.), John Bourne (the company had purchased the Great Fenton Estate from Bourne together with the mineral rights & to smelt iron ore into pig-iron) & John Pender MP.  The brickworks was erected in 1874 & the Ironworks in July 1876, (reference from an article by Jim Worgan). I have to note that the surveyed 1877 map does not show the ironworks at this date, but there is the option that the blast furnaces were still under construction & with them not being operational they were not added to the map ? I also have to note that coal was still being dug from many shallow pits at this date, with the seams of coal laying just below the surface, hence collieries in title of the company rather than colliery as in a deep shaft colliery.
The red & blue bricks above were produced by the company sometime between 1874 & 1947, of which several different designed frogs have been found.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1900.

Stafford Coal & Iron's brickworks is marked along with several pits as the Great Fenton Collieries on the 1877 map & as Great Fenton Collieries & Iron Works on the 1900 map (above) with the 1922 & 1938 maps recording the site as Stafford Collieries & Iron Works. Bricks appear to have been a by-product of this company, hence the word brick not being included in the Company's name. On saying that they must have produced millions of bricks, especially their blue bricks as I have found many examples in the East Midlands (home turf).

S. C. & I. are listed in Kelly's directories from 1888 to 1904 editions as S. C. & I. Co. Lim. (blue, brindle & red), Great Fenton, Stoke on Trent, Staffs. The 1896 & 1900 editions lists only red bricks with Lawrence Foulds as general manager. The 1904 edition now lists James Lindley as general manager. This now begs the question why the company is not listed in trade directories after the 1904 edition, at this moment of time I do not have the answer, but with the brickworks shown on later maps we know the company continued to produce them.

From Jim Worgan's article we find that after the company's boom time for their blast furnaces was around the 1900's. The iron works & it's associated by-products plant then got into severe operational difficulties & closed in 1931. The brickworks & collieries remained operational after this date. 
We then find in 1934 Settle Speakman took over the running of the Stafford Coal & Iron Co. Joe Settle had been buying bulk coal for his Jamage washer & coking plant from Stafford C. & I. since 1902. The transfer of financial control of S. C. & I. to Settle Speakman was completed in 1936. David Kitching has informed me that in an article by Allan Baker, the brickworks then traded as the Stafford Brick Works after this take over, then after the colliery side of the business had been transferred over to the National Coal Board in 1947, Settle Speakman continued to run the brickworks with them now stamping their bricks "Stafford S-O-T", two examples of which can be seen below.

Due to the economics of extracting the clay reserves, Settle Speakman closed the brickworks in the 1960's. The colliery now named Stafford Colliery closed in 1969. Today all of the Great Fenton Colliery site has been built on & includes Stoke City's Britannia Football Stadium & a variety of industrial units & car showrooms. Here's a thought for you the next time you drive along Gordon Banks Drive between the two roundabouts, you are actually driving through what was the main building of the brickworks. 

Dave Kitching has also informed me about Stafford Coal & Iron's association with the Potteries Brick Company. This limited company was a marketing company for many of Stoke's brick manufacturing companies which numbered at least seventeen to sell their bricks which were stamped with the PBS name & a letter to signify each maker. Although we know the names of these companies & the letters which are stamped on the bricks, we do not know which letter was attributed to which company. Below is a 1937 advert for PBS which lists seventeen companies, Stafford C. & I. included & a 1942 letter heading for the company which lists it's directors, so I expect these directors were also the directors of their respective brickworks. Many thanks to Ken Perkins of Apedale Heritage Centre for suppling me with these two images. Ken has got a good selection of these PBS bricks (an example shown below) on display in the Centre along with bricks made by many of Stoke's other brickmakers. It's well worth a visit & it's free ! Donations are gladly accepted.

Example of a PBS brick photographed at Cawarden in 2017 & as said it is unknown which company in this association made this AB brick. 

Some of the information in this entry has come from articles by Jim Worgan & Geoff Mould with additional info from Dave Kitching, many thanks. 

The brickworks owned by the Newhey Brick & Terra Cotta Co. Ltd. was on Huddersfield Road, Newhey nr. Rochdale Lancs. & I have found that a brickworks on this site opened in 1889. It is unknown if it was Newhey B. & T. C. Co. who opened this works in 1889 as I have found that a company called Waterheadland Co. Ltd. are also recorded as being at Newhey & one of their bricks has been photographed by Frank Lawson. As there is only one brickworks marked on maps in this area, I am thinking that Waterheadland was the first to operate this brickworks on Huddersfield Road. I have a date of 1930 from the web when the brickworks at Newhey closed, so it may have been then that Newhey B & T. C. Co. took over the works ? 
The Newhey brickworks is shown on maps dated 1889, 1907 (below), 1928 & 1938. Pope & Pearson are recorded as owning this works after 1973. It is unknown what year Newhey B & T. C. Co. closed their works or if it just changed hands in the early 70's. The next recorded owners of this works is in the 1980's when Morgan plc of Ellesmere Port, purchased the brickworks along with three other brickworks in Lancashire & North Wales. The final closure date of the Newhey brickworks is unknown. If any new info comes to light on this brickworks, I will update the post.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1907.

The first shafts at Ackton Hall Colliery were sunk in 1877 & the colliery closed in 1984. The colliery had an associated brickworks which I have coloured yellow on the 1905 map below. The colliery & brickworks was then nationalised in 1947, coming under the control of the National Coal Board. 

The Midland Brick Co./NCB Ackton Hall brick above at first had got me slightly bemused as I was sure I had read somewhere that the Midland Brick Co. was set up within NCB to run several of it's brickworks. I then remembered where I had found this information. It was in a set of uncredited loose type-written pages all about NCB's brickworks in Nottinghamshire. I am thinking that these articles may have been compiled by the National Coal Board & are deposited at Nottingham's Angel Row Central Library. 

This is the information that I wrote from these pages regarding the Coal Board's brickworks at Welbeck.  
Welbeck brickworks was then transferred to the Midland Brick Co. in 1967/8 with production reaching 10.4 million bricks in 1968. It is unknown if this Midland Brick Co. was a private company or was partly owned or fully owned by NCB. The next bit suggests that NCB did have an input of some description. Further reorganisation of NCB's brickmaking activities in 1970/1 resulted in the brickworks at Welbeck being transferred to the new wholly owned NCB subsidiary, NCB (Ancillaries) Ltd. The brickworks then passed out of the control of the NCB in 1973 with it's assets being sold to Butterley Building Materials Ltd.

So I expect this is what happened to Ackton Hall brickworks as well with it being part of this Midland Brick Co. The year Ackton Hall brickworks closed is unknown.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1905.

A couple of footnotes for you - Up to yet I have not found any bricks stamped Midland Brick Co./Welbeck with the works closing in 1975. Then a Midland Brick Co./Wombwell brick has been photographed by fellow collector Frank Lawson, so again another works in the control of the Midland Brick Co.

Update 21.9.17.
Mike Chapman has sent me an image of a Midland Brick Co. pamphlet (below) which is dated August 1968 & the following info.  
Mike writes :- This pamphlet is dated 1968 & coincides with the NCB forming the Midland Brick Co. as a wholly owned subsidiary, getting twelve brickworks ready for a future sell off. As far as I’m aware the only works from this group which still is going is Desford, now owned by Forterra.

This new info slightly disagrees with the Nottingham Library article on Welbeck, which I now think is incorrect. It now appears that the Welbeck brickworks along with Ackton Hall & the other ten brickworks listed in this pamphlet were operated by the Midland Brick Co. & not by NCB Ancillaries Ltd. at the time that they were sold to Butterley Brick in 1973. As wrote I do not know when Ackton Hall brickworks closed. 

As a footnote I have added this link which explains how Butterley/Hanson became Forterra.

Cherished Chimneys, Longport, Stoke

I go slightly go off-piste with this post. It all came about when I arranged to visit Ken Perkins at Apedale Heritage Centre to take him some Stoke bricks for his collection. Ken said "Have you been to see Lance & Steph Bates chimney pot collection at Longport." As I was visiting Ford Green Hall later in the day, Ken had arranged to take me over to see Lance's collection at his aptly named shop/museum "Cherished Chimneys." on Station Street, Longport. This rather lavishley designed building used to be the local Co-op, today we find that new Co-op mini supermarkets are modern square, black & glass boxes which I expect fulfil todays purposes, but where has all the style gone which these old building possess ! It's lucky that this building has survived. 

As well as selling modern chimney pots, Lance has amassed his very large collection over many years, going to every corner of the UK to collect his cherished chimneys, even visiting Scottish Islands to rescue rare pots. I can't resist putting "Lance must be rather potty about his pots." I expect you can say that about myself & my fellow brick collectors who go to extreme lengths to find & preserve named bricks for future generations.

So after introductions, Lance gave me a tour of his museum, pointing out his special finds along the way. He is very knowledgeable about all aspects of his chimney pots, their history, style & use. After the tour I took the following photos to give you a flavour of his collection which also includes locally made teapots & other Stoke made pottery. It's well worth a visit to see Lance's Cherished Chimney pots that he is so passionate about. You will even meet his cat who loves to be photographed - see photos of Lance taking his pots in for the day & his cat at the end of the post.

So if you live nearby or are visiting Stoke to immerse yourself in Stoke's pottery past add Lance's museum to your list, opening times can be found at this link.

Link to Lance's location, 34, Station Street, Longport. ST6 4NA.,-2.214047,16.88z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x487a42b9c113353b:0xc4251819b7ba832a!8m2!3d53.043024!4d-2.2146712?hl=en