- Last Updated: Monday, 24 June 2019 15:56
- Written by Graham Brooks
CUMBERLAND BRICK WORKS
Bricks have been made in the Carlisle area since the roamn period with roman tile works at both Carleton and Brampton. The earliest evidence of medieval brick is the 'Tile Tower' in the city walls near the castle.
Extract of map from 1746 showing a brick kiln to the north of Carlisle near the main road to Scotland in the Goosling Syke area.
A number of brick/tile works were opened during the late 18th early 19th century in the Goosling Syke/ Etterby area of Carlisle. These were obviously all hand made bricks.
There is also a number of adverts for the making of bricks at varying points around the city usually associated with the building of new houses.
The first named brick works was Nelson's brick works at Murrell Hill. this was the first steam powered brick works in the area and used Mr. Bearts paptent method.
2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map 1901 showing site of Kingstown Brickworks
Brick from Beaty, Kingstown Brickworks.
KINGMOOR BRICK MARK.
Advert Carlisle Journal 6th January 1860.
When the Kingmoor farm was sold on 6th June 1899 the sales brochure covered the Brick making royalty This stated that it covered 36.419 acres and was leased for 99 years from 1st July 1896 to Kingmoor Brick & Tile co. Ltd under the usual conditions to get clay and make bricks etc. (CRO DB/74/3/2/1118)
A map based on 2nd edition Ordnanace Survey showing site of the brick works. It is possible that the site at the top of the map is the site of the works refered to in the above advert.
Thomas Robson and Co ran a brick works at Botcherby from 1832 till 1863.
The reverse of the above brick
This suggest that Robson paid for a licence to use one of Patent granted to William Carter Stafford Percy, machinist, of Manchester.
Two records: 1) on 29 April 1847 for "improvements in machinery for making and dressing bricks and tiles, and in certain sheds and kilns, in which bricks and tiles are dried and burnt",
2) on 31 July 1858 for "Improvements in arrangements and mechanism or apparatus for the manufacture of bricks, tiles, pipes, and other articles made of plastic earths."
There are further patent details from 11th December 1861:
3104. Machinery for making bricks, tiles, pipes and other articles formed of plastic materials.
T Robson and Co builder in Carlisle, advertised bricks for sale at Botcherby brickfield. Carlisle Journal 2nd June 1832.
Nelson's were advertising a brickfield to let at Botcherby. Carlisle Journal 2nd November 1844.
2nd edition Ordnance survey 1901 showing site of Botcherby brick works.
Brick mark from Botcherby brickworks.
thomas Robson announced his retirement in 1863 recommending robert Metcalfe as his successor. Robert Metcalf had been in partnership with his brother Joseph as builders and brick makers. jospeh continued as builder and brick maker in Upperby.
In 1880 James Metcalfe took over the business.
Advert from postal directory 1880.
There has been a long history of brick making in the Murrell Hill area. In 1684 Matthew Wilman's will shows he had a half share in a brick kiln at Murrell Hill.
This brick works was opened by James and Thomas Nelson in the early 1850s. They signed a contract with Robert Beart to use his patented brick making system in November 1853. This paptent had been granted to Robert Beart a brick and tile maker from the Godmanchester area in 1845 ( Patent no. 10,636) and was a complete brick making system including the preparation of the clay, extrusion machine, drying sheds and kilns. The bricks were perforated with 24 holes either round or hexagonal ( hence no names on the bricks to identify which works they came from.) These holes were achieved by hanging a series of cores or tongues within the die. In passing through these cores the clay met with friction throughout the mass and thus travelled at an uniform speed pushing the material solidly into the die corners improving the shape of the clay column. The perforations reduced the amount of clay in each brick making it lighter and exposed more surface to drying and firing, this reduced the drying and firing time, thereby making them cheaper to produce. The system was improved in 1853 by incorporating John Heritage's patent of double water die in which after passing through the first die the column of clay then went through a water bath to lubricate it before passing through the second die which smoothed its jagged surfaces and consolidated it. Unlike earlier patents were the bricks were made into complicated shapes to corespond with each noew construction system, Beart's bricks were of a standard size and so could be used in normal building schemes.
A steam powered plant was installed with a payment of 6d. per 1000 bricks made payable to Mr. Beart. It was described in the Carlisle Journal 14th July 1854 as being only the 6th works of its type in the country. It was powered by a 20hp steam engine made by Cowan and Sheldon. The clay first passed through 2 pairs of rollers to reduce stone to powder, then into a soaking chamber till it is properly tampered before entering the moulding machine. It comes out as long strips of clay which are cut by wire into bricks which are placed on wooden trays before going into the drying ovens for 12 hours. they are then burnt in a closed kiln, the whole process only taking 6 days compared to the weeks that the normal slop moulding in the area requires. They claimed that the new process ranked brick making allong with biscuit making as an easy inside job. The new plant was capable of making million bricks per year.
In February 1855 Nelsons contracted with Mr Richard Stobbart and Mr Isaac Wilson to undertake all the work connected to making and burining pipes, tiles etc. and patented bricks fora period of 6 months. At the end of this period the works were over stocked with product and the contract ceased until December 1855 when it started again. The price was to include filing and emptying the kilns and loading carts and wagons, with payment on account as each kiln was emptied. They were to keep all flues, kilns and works in good working order and free from rubbish, but Nelsons would carryout any repairs to the actual machinery and also supply the coals for the steam engine and coal and coke for the drying and burning of the pipes and bricks.
The price paid for the work was
Bricks -- Any variety of common sized hollow or perforated brick 6s./1000.
Pipes -- Circular or flat bottomed 5 inch 18s. per 1000
4 inch 14s. per 1000
3 inch 12s. per 1000
2 inch 10s. per 1000
1.5 inch 8s. per 1000
Pipe collars 2 inch 4d. per 1000
1.5 inch 3d. per 1000.
An unfortunate accident happened in the works on 22nd December 1857. a young lad called John Flynn was seriously injured after being caught in the machinery and later died of tetanus. The description of the accident gives some idea as to the working of the plant.
"The clay was brought up an incline to the top of the building were it passed through 4 rollers before going down a slide into the pug mill. The mill is formed of ironand circular inshape and in which works an upright shaft. On top of the shaft is a bevel wheel which is worked by a pinion wheel. The clay slides into the pug mill for the purpose of tempering it before being pressed into bricks. Due to the clammy nature of the clay it sticks on the slide and the boy was so positioned with a stick to push it in. He also controlled a tap to allow water into the mill to moisten the clay"
The accident happened when the boy climbed into the pug mill to make moving the clay easier and placed his hand on the bevel wheel where it was drawn into the pinion wheel leading to amputation of the arm and injuries to his face. His arm was amputated but he later died from Tetanus. The inquest gave a verdict of accidental death but did suggest that open machinery should be enclosed and Messrs. Nelson did enclose a lot of their machinery after this. A long case followed with the unfortunate boys mother over compensation payments.
Advert Carlisle Journal 10th November 1854.
Advert Carlisle Journal 5th April 1856.
The works closed in 1861 due to a shortage of clay on the site.
The Nelsons also owned the South Tyne brick works at Haltwhistle which is where their salt glazed wares were probably produced.
Nelsons also had a marble works in Carlisle which also appears to have acted as a general builders yard
LAINGS BLACKWELL ROAD, STEAM BRICK WORKS
Probably dating from about 1877. It was closed by the time of the second edition OS map in 1901.
Advert postal directory 1880.
Also known as East Curthwaite. Originally opened by Robert Lucock in 1831. It was managed by a variety of his relatives both before and after his death in 1854. It eventually closed in 1879. It re-opened in 1882 by Mr. Beaty, who ran the works until 1888 when they closed and he moved to the Kingstown Brick Works.
Opposite sides of the same brick.
Carlisle Journal 3rd March 1883.
1st edition Ordnance Survey map 1868.
Advert from A B Mosses directory Cumberland 1880.
Built on part of the Naworth Colliery workshop and office site at Kirkhouse using shale (the overburden from the Foresthead limekiln quarry). This was originally delivered by Lord Carlisle's private railway and later by wagon after its closure.
Bricks were made by 2 Bradley and Craven machines. There was a continous kiln and 2 smaller semi-continous kilns.
After the 2nd Worls War production was increased with the introduction of a wire cut machine.
Promotional material and price list from 1969.
Sandysike brick works was one of a number tile and brick works in the arera south of Longtown.
Advert from Carlisle Journal 2nd April 1879.
KIRKCAMBECK TILE WORKS.
I have not found any product specifically related to this site, but I feel I need to include it in the list because of the Newcastle Kiln still on the site. NY 538 686.
Micklan brickworks NX 980 222.
The site has now been cleared.
The works were between the brick retaining wall on the left and the concrete road on the right. The Lowca light railway ran to the right of the road before the cliff edge. The bases of some structures are still present.
The circular base of the chimney made out of Harrington firebricks.
The base of one of the circular kilns. These were gas fired.
The gas main supplying the kilns is still present coming through the retaining wall.
The remains of the adit from which forecaly was drawn for the works. This was carried on a narrow guage railway beside the Lowca Light Railway to the works.
Robert Wilson was listed as Brick & Tile Maker in Directories of 1878 and 1884.
A poor example of square stamp.
This firebrick with only Broughton Moor could be by either Wilson or Lucock.
A chimney pot marked Wislon Broughton
A large diameter salt glased pipe.
Name in frog is raised compared to the normal impression.
A white facing brick.
Advert from Carlisle Journal 6th January 1860.
Whitehaven Firebrick Co. started in the 1850's on Low Road at NX973 169.
It was started by James Dees. In 1856 John Mathews is listed as manager. In 1869 it was listed as Dees and Mathews. Mathews was succedded by John Gibson Dees as manager in 1869. The works operated under a number of names including
Whitehaven Firebrick and Sewage Pipe Works.
Whitehaven Brick and Pipe Works.
The works appear to have stopped work in the 1870s, but was re-opened in 1912 as the Whitehaven Brick and Tile Co.
An advert from Cumberland Faces The Future, Cumberland Industrial Handbook, Circa 1958, in which it states the Whitehaven Brick and Tile Co. Ltd is the biggest and most upto date plant in Cumberland.
During the Second World War the BBC used a building on the site as a low powered transmitter for the local community. the 'Homw service' was transmitted on a frequency of 1474 KHz. This arrived from London over special equalised Post Office Land lines. The aerial was slung between the two brickworks chimneys. All the low level transmitters around the country were tuned to the same frequency. This stopped enemy aircraft from using them for navigation as they did not know which transmitter they were receiving. Also there was a make shift studio on the site which could broadcast locally in times of mergency. (Ref. British Brick Information 60 October 1993).
Whitehaven Brick Works.
Michael Cousins is listed as a master builder in the 1880's directories and in 1881 as builder and Brick and Tile maker. Site of works not known at present.
Another West Cumbrian brick works associated with a coal mines. A new brick works was built in 1874 after the collieries in the area were taken over by theWest Cumbeerland Iron Co.
CAMERTON COLLIERY AND BRICKWORKS, Camerton
NY 039 308
Thomas McKay & Sons
Camerton Coal & Fire-Brick Co Ltd until 1939
Camerton Colliery & Brick Works Co Ltd until 1924
Camerton Coal, Firebrick & Ganister Co from 1755 until 1919
Fireclay came from a number of drifts,
Wood drift NY 037312,
River drift NY 041310
Coal and fireclay abandoned March 1931 but further attempts to find new deposits unsuccessfully.
A hand made firebrick by Lucock.
A similar stamp although curved on the edge of an arch brick.
The lucock family played an imorrtant part in the development of the drainage tile and brick industry in Cumbria. The earliest references are to Robert and Joseph Lucock making tiles for the Graham's Netherby Estate, north of Longtown between 1820 and 1824. They then appear to have started there own tilery at Langrigg in 1824. They continued to expand developing further works at Broughton Moor in 1830 and at Curthwaite in 1831. Robert's son Joseph 2 and Joseph's son James both continued in the business.
Advert Carlisle Journal 2nd February 1833.
Advert Carlisle Journal 22nd february 1845
Advert Carlisle Journal 18th August 1871 for sale of the Lucock brick and tile works.
A stone glazed trough with makers stamp GILLHEAD.
A firebrick as one would expect from the Seaton Firebrick Co.
A red brick.
MARYPORT BRICK WORKS
Robert Hinde brick maker Maryport.
Robert was also a joiner and slate merchant, he appears to have opened the works in 1856 making firebricks, common bricks, and drainage tiles of all sizes.
Robert died in 1865 and the remaining 5 years of the lease on the brickyard was advertise to let. However ther can have been no takers with the equipment being offered for sale shortly afterwards. The equipment included 8 hp steam engine, pug and crushing mills with a Whitehead tile making machine. Stock for sale included 100,000 common bricks, 30,000 1.5 and 2 inch drain pipes, 1,000 2 inch pipes and collars, 500 6 inch pipes, chimney pots, various trough, ridge tiles and sewage pipes.
Advert from the Carlisle Journal 4th March 1857.
Birkby firebrick and Colliery Co.
A variation of the same mark.
Repress bricks are those that after moulding are then put through a press to increase the density.