Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Mapperley & Thorneywood Brickworks, Nottingham - part 1

I normally only write about the bricks which I have found or photographed, but my research into Nottingham brickmakers & information sent by fellow enthusiasts has revealed more brickmakers than I have bricks. So I have decided to include some of these "extra" brickmakers in my Nottingham Posts as their history ties in with the brickmakers to which I do have bricks for. If bricks do turn up for these "extra" brickmakers I will add the photos at a later date. Also, as some of the information found has been very sketchy some theories have been formed, but as ever if any new information comes to light or evidence to contradicted what has already been written this will also be added or changed.  

So in this post I am covering William Burgass & Edward Gripper & then their partnership in the Nottingham Patent Brick Co. plus the smaller brickmakers who's yards were taken over by Gripper or the NPBC. I have also added brickmakers who are listed in Trade Directories as working in Mapperley & Thorneywood.

I would like thank Jeff Sheard, author of the book, Claystealers to St. Pancras Station (the building of the station with NPBC bricks & information on other Nottm. brickmakers) & Mike Chapman, Chairman of the British Brick Society & former Works Manager at Nottingham Brick Co. Arnold Works (NPBC) for supplying me information for this post & giving me permission to use extracts from their work.

Photo by MF, courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. 

I start with William Burgass who was born in 1816 in the Sneinton area of Nottingham. William is recorded as a Coal Merchant in the 1841 Census aged 24 & living with his father who was a joiner by trade. Both William & his father are listed as living & working at the same premises just off London Road at Irongate Wharf in Nottingham. William used the Nottingham Canal to bring his coal in by narrow boat to Irongate Wharf from collieries which where situated to the west of Nottingham in the Erewash Valley. The coal was then distributed around the city by horse & wagon from the wharf. 
By 1852 William had started his brick making company with two yards at Carlton & two yards on Mapperley Common. The Carlton yards consisted of the Thorneywood Works & the second yard was situated on the opposite side of Carlton Road as shown on the 1887 map below. The exact location of William's Mapperley Common yards are unknown. Mapperley Common was a strip of land which was situated on the east side of Woodborough Road & stretched from Alexandra Park to Porchester Road. 
In an article called Brickmaking in Nottingham the author M.J. Gorman records William Burgass in 1844 as operating his coal yard on London Road & his brick yard at Mapperley. Gorman then goes on to say that Carlton Hill was the location where William dug his clay. Then in the 1858 edition of Hunt's Mining Statistics William Burgass is recorded as freeholder & brick manufacturer at Brentcliffe (Thorneywood yard), Description of clay, New Red Marl & producing 2,000,000 bricks in that year. William is recorded as building Brentcliffe House around 1861 & it is shown on the 1887 map below. The house was sadly demolished in the 1960's. William is also listed in Hunts 1858 mineral list at Mapperley Hill as freeholder & manufacturer & producing bricks, tiles, drain pipes & flower pots with an estimated annual production of 2,000,000.

William managed his coal & brick businesses until 1869 when he then only concentrated on his brickmaking interests.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NCC/Ordnance Survey 1887.

1887 OS map showing the locations of William Burgass's Thorneywood Works, Carlton Hill & his Carlton Road Works (coloured green). Just to note that the green coloured yard on this map is shown as being in operation on a 1875 map.
William is listed as brickmaker in the following Trade Directories :-
White's 1853 at Carlton Road (possibly the old brick yard) & Mapperley.
Kelly's 1855 at Carlton.
White's 1864 at 8 Thurland Street & Carlton Hill (Thorneywood).

It was in 1866 that William Burgass took his Thorneywood brickyard into the partnership with Edward Gripper forming the Nottingham Patent Brick Co. in 1867 & more can be read about NPBC after I have covered Edward Gripper & two more Mapperley brick makers.

Updated 23.7.20.
Jeff Sheard has recently updated me with some new information which has totally discounted his theory of Edward Gripper's first brickyard as being situated at Alexandra Park, (coloured green on the 1885 map below) on land owned by J.G. Hine. I have therefore removed this info & added new info to this Edward Gripper section. John Green Hine a local land owner together with his brother Thomas Chambers Hine, an architect were to play a major part in helping Edward Gripper establish his brickmaking business in Nottingham.

So this paragraph contains info from Jeff's new found document & an article by Christine Drew relating to the land at Alexandra Park. In August 1853 J.G. Hine purchased 27 acres of land at Alexandra Park, plot 163 from William Smith a Sneinton builder who had bought 3 plots of land at Mapperley Hill Common in 1848. From these accounts it appears it was William Smith who had worked this land (plot 163) for brick making & I have coloured this land green on the 1885 OS map below. William Smith is recorded as a brickmaker in Mapperley in an article about Nottingham brickyards in operation in 1853 by William Howe Wylie, thus confirming that William Smith operated this Alexandra Park yard. Jeff informs me that J.G. Hine went on to build Fernleigh House, Springfield House, Enderleigh House & Sunnyholm House on this land which had all been designed by his brother Thomas. Shortly after Enderleigh House had been demolished in 2005 Jeff visited this site & on the hillside behind the Alexandra Court Flats complex which had been built in the 1960's on land which had been Fernleigh House's kitchen garden & the "Estates" entrance lodge, he discovered thousands of burrs, evidence of brick making & the remains of a catastrophic kiln meltdown. These burrs were 3 inch in depth & of the Victorian period, some were just lying about, others dry laid making low retaining walls to the rear of the once Enderleigh House. Jeff's photos of these burrs are shown below. All of the land Jeff explored that day has now been redeveloped.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of Ordnance Survey 1885 surveyed 1878/81 .


Photos by Jeff Sheard.

Rick Lowe has also recently contacted me with the information that in the early 1990's he conducted a ground investigation behind the Alexandra Court flats surveying the un-natural contours of this land, digging several test pits & finding evidence same as Jeff did of this land being used for brickmaking & as said this brick yard will have been run by William Smith & not Edward Gripper as first thought. So thanks Rick for sharing your findings.



Now on to Edward Gripper, a Quaker & ex-farmer from Essex who came to Nottingham around 1852 & established himself as a brickmaker. The reason why he turned to brickmaking & sellected Nottingham as his base is unclear, but within a few years he had mastered the trade & in an article called Brickmaking in Nottingham, it's author M.J. Gorman states that Edward Gripper due to the abolition of the Brick Tax in 1850 was extremely busy in 1853 purchasing vast amounts of land in Mapperley & adopting steam power & mechanised processes which increased the amount of bricks produced. Edward's company first appears in local trade directories dated 1853 as the 'Gripper Steam Brick Company'. Edward is next listed in Kelly's 1855 edition as Edward Gripper & Co. Mapperley Hill, Nottingham. Wright's 1858 listing is Edward Gripper (Patent), Mapperley Works, Nottm. Around this time Edward Gripper was trialling & operating different kinds of Patented brickmaking machines, so I expect Patent refers to these machines. White's 1864 edition also records Edward Gripper at Mapperley Hill. Then Wright's 1866 edition records Edward Gripper at Mapperley Plains Road. This is the yard that later became NPBC's Top Yard. 

So with Jeff Sheard now establishing that Gripper's first yard was on land which became the Nottingham Patent Brick Co.'s Middle Yard, Jeff's findings are backed up with Alfred Stapleton's account of Gripper's yard as being in the area worked by several brickmakers who's combined yards were called the 'Brickyard Estate' situated on the north-west side of Woodborough Road between today's Mapperley Rise & Woodthorpe Road, again Nottingham Patent Brick Co.'s Middle Yard. Edward Gripper went on to purchased many of these small yards situated in this "Brickyard Estate" in 1853 as their owners either packed up brick making or exhausted the top layer of clay on their land using the old fashioned methods of only making bricks during the summer months by hand. There were no metalled or macadam roads at this date & the hilly tracks in Mapperley soon turned boggy during wet winter weather making it impossible to transport clay to the works from the brickfields or to take the finished bricks to market.

How Edward Gripper & the Hine brothers met is unknown. I can only assume they met while Edward Gripper was purchasing land in 1853 to expand his brickworks with John Green Hine being a local landowner. At this 1853 date Edward Gripper's company was called the Gripper Steam Brick Co. but shortly afterwards Edward Gripper went into partnership with John Green Hine & Thomas Chambers Hine operating under the style of Edward Gripper & Co. I came across this partnership information in a Notice in the London Gazette dated 2nd of October 1855 when Thomas C. Hine, an architect was dissolved from this partnership on the 10th of September 1855. From Christine Drew's account of the Hine Brothers, Christine writes that because Thomas C. Hine was inundated with his architecture commissions in 1853 his brother John purchased his share in the brothers partnership of designing & building houses. I can therefore only assume that Thomas Hine left the Gripper & Co. partnership in 1855 for the same reasons to concentrate on his architectural commissions. The London Gazette has also revealed that Thomas C. Hine between 1854 & 1858 made several applications for Patents in the improvements to lighting & ventilation in gas.

The London Gazette dated 2nd March 1858 records that on the 1st of January 1858 the partnership of Edward Gripper & John G. Hine was dissolved. So from this date Edward Gripper was sole owner of Gripper & Co. 

The following extract is from Hunt's 1858 Mining Statistics sent to me by Jeff. 
Yard - Mapperley Hill, New Red Marl. 
Name of Freeholder J.G Hine
Name off Manufacturer Ed. Gripper,  Bricks, tiles and drain pipes, 4,000,000 per annum. 
So it appears that J.G. Hine still had an interest in Gripper & Co. with him being the Freeholder of the land which Gripper worked.

1863 sees Edward Gripper purchase Samuel Cartledge's yard which was accessed via Mapperley Place from Woodborough Road & this yard was to later become part of NPBC's Top Yard which is coloured blue on the 1881 map below in the Cartledge entry. Edward Gripper is listed at this former Cartledge's works in Wright's 1866 edition with the works address of Plains Road & I have coloured Plains Road green on the 1881 OS map below. Please note that this green coloured Plains Road & the yellow coloured Mapperley Place are now called Private Road. Edward Gripper also purchased two more yards which formed part of the later NPBC Top Yard & these two yards had been worked by Mr. Clay & Mr. Lee with both of them being positioned between Cartledge's yard at the top of Mapperley Place & Woodborough Road. So in a nutshell the blue area on the 1881 map below originally consisted of three yards before Edward Gripper built his new works there. We next find it was in 1866 that Edward Gripper & William Burgass formed a partnership bringing their two companies together & creating the Nottingham Patent Brick Co. in the following year. 

Before I move on to NPBC. I first write about four brickmakers who were making bricks at the same time as Burgass & Gripper & who's yards were to later become NPBCo's Top Yard & Bottom Yard. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1881.

So I start with the blue coloured brick yard on the 1881 OS map above which at this 1881 date was N.P.B.Co's Top Yard. Woodborough Road is coloured red & todays Private Road is coloured yellow & green (formerly Mapperley Place & Plains Road respectively). In 1848 Samuel Cartledge owned & worked a yard at the end of Mapperley Place (yellow), but I expect his yard only occupied a fraction of this blue coloured site at the end of Mapperley Place. Samuel Cartledge is listed as a brickmaker in Lascelles & Hagar's 1848 Commercial Directory of Nottingham with the address of Mapperley Place, Sherwood. Samuel Cartledge is next recorded in a 1852 article by E. Dobson as being in the partnership of Cartledge & Goddard at Mapperley & producing 1.5 million bricks in that year. We then find Samuel Cartledge is next listed on his own in White's 1853 edition at Mapperley & then again on his own in Kelly's 1855 edition at Sherwood. As Sherwood is just a short distance away from this site, Samuel's 1855 Sherwood entry is more than likely the same yard. However I found in the London Gazette dated 25th of March 1856 that the partnership of Samuel Cartledge & Henry Goddard was dissolved on the 22nd of March 1856 & Samuel Cartledge would receive & settle all debts from this partnership. It is unknown why trade directories did not record this partnership. 

Jeff has found that this yard was then leased to Thomas Osborne & Hunt's 1858 Mining Statistics records Samuel Cartledge as freeholder & Thomas Osborne as brick manufacturer at Mapperley & producing an estimated 2,000,000 in 1858. Nottingham Museum where I photographed the T. Osborne brick below records this brick as being made around 1860. I then found Thomas Osborne is listed in Wright's 1862 trade directory at Mapperley. This is the only trade directory entry found for Osborne.

Photo by MF, courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. 

It then appears to have been around 1863 that Edward Gripper acquired this yard from Samuel Cartledge. As previously wrote the rest of this blue coloured works fronting Woodborough Road had been occupied by the two yards owned by Mr. Lee & Mr. Clay before Edward Gripper acquired them. The location of yards owned by Lee & Clay was established by Jeff Sheard while he has writing his book. No other information has been found about Lee & Clay other than I have found a John & James Lee operating brick yards at Bluebell Hill & Carlton Hill, Nottingham in 1862 & 1864, so this Mr. Lee could be one of these men. I have found several brickmakers operated second & third yards in other areas of Nottingham at the same time in the 1850's & 60's. 


© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NCC/Ordnance Survey 1875.

This brick yard on Scout Lane (now Woodthorpe Drive, Mapperley) coloured purple on the 1875 OS map above was to become N.P.B.Co's Bottom Yard. From Kelly's 1876 edition C.L. Huthwaite is listed as brickmaker in Mapperley. My next find is a Liquidation Notice in the London Gazette dated 30th of December 1879 & it states that one Charles Lechevalier Huthwaite, Brick Manufacturer of 69 Goldsmith Street, Nottingham & formerly residing at Alma Cottage, Scout Lane, Basford (Woodthorpe Drive) formally carrying on the business as Brick & Tile Manufacturer under the style of the Mapperley Brick Company on Scout Lane, Basford & as Farmer on the Mapperley Plains Road in the Borough of Nottingham was declaring himself bankrupt to his creditors on the 22nd of December 1879. So it appears that Edward Gripper could not resist purchasing this yard, possibly at a reduced price from Huthwaite's creditors, as we next find that this yard was owned by NPBC & being operated as their Bottom Yard. 


I now move on to The Nottingham Patent Brick Company which was established on the 3rd June 1867. This new Company had been formed from the 1866 merger of the two brickmaking businesses owned by Edward Gripper & William Burgass. The provisional Board of Directors of this new Company consisted of Edward Gripper, William Burgass, (joint Managing Directors), Arnold Goodcliffe, William Musham, Robert Mellors & Arthur Wells. 

Works owned by the NPBC in 1867 consisted of Gripper's two Mapperley works (Top & Middle) & Burgass's Thorneywood works. A third Mapperley yard called the Bottom Yard was added around 1879. For the location of the Thorneywood works please refer to my map in the Burgass entry at the beginning of this post. 

The Mapperley yards on Woodborough Road were locally known as Top, Middle & Bottom. The Top Yard had been established by Edward Gripper in 1863 after he had purchased the yards belonging to Samuel Cartledge, Mr. Lee & Mr. Clay. The Middle Yard had evolved from Edward Gripper purchasing the several yards which had occupied this site & had previously been locally known as the 'Brickyard Estate' occupying land on the north-west side of Woodborough Road stretching from Private Road to Scout Lane (Woodthorpe Drive). However Mike Chapman has a NPBC minutes book saying that in 1868 J.G. Hine sold 17 acres of land to the newly formed NPBC. which formed part of one of these three yards, exactly which one is unknown, but I suspect these 17 acres may have been within the Middle Yard site with J.G. Hine being recorded as Freeholder & Edward Gripper as the brickmaker on land at Mapperley Hill in Hunt's 1858 Mining Statistics. So it was not until 1868 that Edward Gripper/NPBC were the Freeholders of the whole of the Middle Yard. Then as previously wrote the Bottom Yard was more than likely purchased from C.L. Huthwaite's creditors in 1879/80 & this brick company owned by Huthwaite was called the Mapperley Brick Company. I have therefore formed this theory that NPBC also purchased the Mapperley Brick Company name because on two maps dated 1875 & 1881 NPBC's Middle Yard is just shown as Brick Works, but then on the 1887 map it is shown as the Mapperley Brick Works.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1881.

1881 OS map showing the location of NPBC's Top (blue), Middle (yellow) & Bottom (purple) Yards.

During a very productive three year period from 1865 to 1868 Gripper had joined forces with William Burgass, formed NPBC, won many contracts to supply millions of bricks to several London railway companies & had installed Hoffmann kilns & the latest brickmaking machinery at NPBC's Top & Middle Yards. The licence to build & use the more productive Hoffmann kilns had been negotiated by Gripper & his managers before Edward's merger with William Burgass. The Nottingham Patent Brick Company at this time used the semi-dry process to make their bricks, but in later years they changed to producing wire cut bricks.
Hoffmann kilns where later built at Thorneywood & this 'new' process dramatically increased NPBC's production to around 27 million bricks per year & in honour of this achievement bricks were produced with Gripper's name stamped in them & an example of which can be seen below. NPBC as main brick contractors then went on to produce the majority of the 60 million facing bricks that were needed for the building of St. Pancras Station & Hotel in London. 

Photo by MF, courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. 
Believed to be one of the bricks made to honour Edward Gripper by NPBC.

Jeff Sheard writes in his book that in 1866 Gripper had a constant struggle to deliver a steady flow of bricks to the St. Pancras contract as his Hoffmann kilns had not all been built & all of the bricks had to be moved by hand & then transported by horse & cart to the main railway depot in Nottingham for delivery to London, no mechanical brick loaders & large lorries in those days. Gripper also employed local coal delivery merchants during the summer months to supplement his own transport in getting his bricks to the railway depot which was located just off Carrington Street. Each dray could carry around a 1000 bricks & divide this into the 10 million bricks required at this point & it's a lot of journeys to & from the railway depot for just this one contract. It was not to be until 1889 that NPBC's bricks were directly transport from it's two works via rail on the Nottingham Suburban Railway. The company also had other contracts to fulfil, so you can see why Gripper turned to other brick manufacturers notably Butterley Brick Co. & Tuckers of Loughborough to help him in keeping a flow of facing bricks to the St. Pancras contract. Common bricks for the internal walls in this contract were made in London at a temporary brickworks which had been set up north of the station next to the Regent's Canal. Clay used in the making of these common bricks came from the diggings of the massive foundations of St Pancras Station itself & from the excavation of the Belsize Tunnel & it's approaches. Two of Henry Clayton's Patented brickmaking machines were used to produce the 20,000 wire cut bricks which were needed each day before being fired in a Hoffmann kiln on this temporary site.

In Kelly's 1876 T.D. William Burgass is listed as the Managing Director of NPBC, then in Kelly's 1881 edition the listing is Edward Gripper, William Burgass & Robert Mellors as joint Managing Directors. William Burgass sadly died on the 28th October 1881, aged 66 & the next T.D. in 1891 naturally only records Gripper & Mellors as joint M.D's.

NPBC's Top Yard had ceased production & had closed by the mid 1880's. The 1887 OS map only shows the outline of the clay pit, so I am taking it that all of the brickworks buildings had been demolished & cleared. The area which had been the Top Yard can be seen on the 1900 OS map below where it says Smithy. 

The year the Bottom Yard's kilns ceased producing bricks is unknown, but I have found that the buildings of this works are still shown on maps dated 1887 & 1900, but the site is unnamed as a brick yard & is just shown as two clay pits with one of the clay pits being accessed by tramway from NPBC's Middle Yard. The Bottom Yard was then the main source of clay for the Middle Yard. 

The 1871 Census shows Edward Gripper living at 54, Welbeck Terrace but by the 1881 Census Edward had move into a grand three-storey Victorian town house called Ivy Bank on Mansfield Road. In 1891 Edward Gripper was still joint Managing Director of NPBC, but sadly died at the age of 79 on the 23rd of December 1894 & he is buried in Quaker Cemetery on Clarendon Street, Nottingham. Robert Mellors is then recorded as NPBC sole Managing Director in Kelly's 1900 edition.


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

OS map showing location of Middle (yellow) & Bottom (purple) in 1900. The Top Yard had closed by the mid 1880's (where it says Smithy) & Mapperley Rise is shown built by 1900.

Transportation of NPBC's bricks was made easier by the opening of the Nottingham Suburban Railway on the 2nd of December 1889, with the company having direct connections to this railway line at Sherwood & Thorneywood. These two railway extensions can be seen on the 1900 Mapperley & Thorneywood maps.
More can be read about Nottingham's Suburban Railway at this link. 
http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/t/thorneywood/  


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

NPBC's Thorneywood works in 1900. The access road into this works has now been named Burgass Road in William's honour & the works has it's own railway siding via a tunnel to the Nottingham Suburban Railway which was opened in 1889.




The Thorneywood brickworks in 1938. The road coming into the works from the bottom of this photo is Burgass Road. 


Photo by MF courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries.

This Patent brick which is in Nottingham Museum's collection is recorded as coming from a demolished house on Hall Street, Sherwood. I first thought that the Patent name had been used to signify the first use of the patented Hoffmann process licensed to NPBC, hence the Patent name in the Company's name, but I have come across several trade directory entries for The Patent Brick Company, manager, John Walker then Alfred Walker at Burgass Road, Sneinton Hill, Nottingham in Kelly's 1891, 95 & 1900 editions. Now during this same period of time NPBC are also listed in Kelly's at Carlton Hill or Thorneywood Lane. So this begs the question why are there two separate entries for the same works situated at the junction of Burgass Road & Thorneywood Lane ? I have found from maps dated 1900, 1912 & 1937 that Thorneywood Lane is todays Porchester Road & ran roughly from Daisy Road to it's junction with Carlton Road. The rest of this road into Mapperley is shown as Porchester Road on these maps & the renaming of the full length of this road to Porchester Road took place sometime after 1937. 

Back to Kelly's 1908 trade directory when there is only the NPBC entry, it records, offices 14, George Street, Works  - Mapperley Hill, Nottingham; Thorneywood Lane & Burgass Road, Nottingham; & at Arnold & Carlton. 

So I then ask why are there two separate companies recorded on the same site between 1891 & 1900, then two road names referring to the Thorneywood Works in NPBC's 1908 entry ?  If the 1908 entry had said Burgass Road, Thorneywood Lane, Nottingham then that would be correct as the works was accessed via Burgass Road from Thorneywood Lane, but at this moment in time I do not have the answers. All I can say is that the Patent brick above could have been made by this 1891 to 1900 Patent Brick Co. ?



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

A few changes have taken place since the 1900 map at Mapperley & the 1912 map above shows again the Middle Yard (yellow), Bottom Yard (purple). The Company had acquired land on Woodthorpe Drive (green) by this date & this was to become the Company's reserve clay pit until it closed in 1969. Also to note on this 1912 map is that a factory has been built & Morley Avenue now runs through the centre of the former Top Yard site. Apparently NPBC were involved in the planning & naming of these roads which where to be built on the site of the former Top Yard & yet again in later years when the Middle & Bottom yards closed.



NPBC's Middle & Top Yards in 1938 looking from Mapperley Rise.

Link to a 1963 photo of the Middle Yard taken from the bridge which takes Sherwood Vale road over NPBC's incline railway. NPBC used the incline railway to transport their bricks to the nearby Nottingham Suburban Line.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78089679@N03/8142893045



It was from the top of this bridge on Sherwood Vale that the photo in the above link was taken. The incline railway from the Mapperley works passed through this arch meeting up with a branch line of the Suburban Railway just behind me. NPBC's bricks were then loaded into railway wagons for transportation to the rest of the country. The rope-hauled incline line, transfer yard & the branch railway line can been seen on the 1912 map above near to Sherwood Station.


Advert from the Mike Chapman Collection.

N.P.B.Co. advert from the 1920's.



N.P.B. Co. copping brick stamp by Mike Chapman.


N.P.B.Co. coping brick found at Cawarden Reclamation Yard & added to my collection in July 2020.


I now move on to Charles Bennett who took over the running of the Company after Edward Gripper & Robert Mellors. Charles had a hard start to his life, starting work at the age of 9 at the family's brickyard in Spondon & with him having no formal education, he quickly learnt the art of brickmaking. Charles after marrying Mary Ann Holloway in 1854 & producing their first child Francis, moved to Nottingham to take up the position of foreman at Edward Gripper's yard. Charles then transferred over to NPBC where he progressed his way up in management, eventually becoming Works Manager.

Photo by Avril Roberts (nee Bennett) of 752 Woodborough Road.

Charles then moved to 752 Woodborough Road, a house which he had built for himself & his family opposite the works. He also built the row of cottages which are to the left of this house for his workers on Woodborough Road. Charles was to marry three times & produce nine children. Charles was a generous man who also gave land for the building of the Wesleyan Chapel on Woodborough Road. He was held in high esteem in the local community, becoming a town councillor & was elected Alderman in 1880. He also was a magistrate. Charles died in 1909 at the age of 77 & in his honour Bennett Road & Bennett Street (next to his Woodborough Road house) where named after him.

Charles was the first of four generations of this Bennett family to run NPBC & be directors or MD of the Company. Charles was followed by his son Charles Lawrence, who had worked alongside his father for many years before taking over the reins. Charles Lawrence Bennett is recorded as Managing Director in Kelly's 1925 edition taking over from Robert Mellors who is last recorded as MD in the 1922 edition. The Works in these two Kelly's editions are listed as Burgass Road (Thorneywood), Woodborough Road (Mapperley), Arnold (Dorket Head) & Carlton. As to which of the several Carlton brickworks that are shown on old maps was owned by NPBC at this time is unknown, but my best option is the works on Church Street (previously called Newgate Street & coloured red). The last brickmaker or company attributed to this works was in 1900 the same year that Carlton appears in NPBC's Kelly's TD listing. So NPBC could have owned this works into the 1930's as it is last shown on a OS map dated 1937 ?


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

I am working on the theory that the red coloured brickworks situated just off Church Street is NPBC's Carlton works as listed in Kelly's 1900 to 1925 editions.


Back to the Bennett family & Charles Lawrence's son Leslie Charles followed his father at NPBC & after moving up the ranks he became MD in 1950. Leslie was involved in the designing of new hydraulic machinery (of which he had great knowledge of) to move unfired bricks onto cars (type of pallet) before the bricks went into the kilns for firing & these machines were still in use when the Mapperley yards closed. More can be read about Leslie Charles Bennett later in the post.

There have been other members of this Bennett family who have also worked for NPBC. Charles's (senior) first son, Francis Thomas after being a clerk at NPBC moved to Lincoln in 1885 to take over the Bracebridge Brick Co. which was later amalgamated into the Lincoln Brick Company with Francis being made the Managing Director of this new company. Frank Barnes, NPBC manager who was married to Georgiana Bennett (born 1863) & John Raymond Bennett NPBC director born 1908. I am afraid I cannot tell you how these family members are connected because I do not have the full Bennett family tree. Jeff Sheard has also the name of Jack Bennett unless he is John Raymond Bennett & Jack was his nickname as you sometimes find with the name of John.

After covering the closure of the Top Yard I then turn my attentions to the final years of the Mapperley Middle & Bottom Yards & the closure of the Thorneywood Yard. 

The Top Yard must have closed by the mid 1880's as the buildings on this site are no longer shown on a 1887 OS map, but in Jeff Sheard's book there is an account of a 'great crowd gathering' to witness the demolition of the high chimney of the disused kiln belonging to a disused brickyard situated between Private Road & Mapperley Rise (Top Yard's location). My only explanation is that although the chimney still stood until 1901, it was not shown on maps dated 1887 & 1899. Then that begs the question of why this site was left unused for such a long time, unless they were still extracting clay for the Middle Yard ? If answers turn up I will add them to the post. It was between 1895 & 1900 that NPBC had purchased a brick yard in Arnold as a replacement for the Top Yard & I cover that works a little further down the post.

The Thorneywood yard closed in 1967 & has since been built on with houses.

The clay reserves at the Bottom Yard had been exhausted by 1930 & the Company was using the clay reserve situated on Woodthorpe Drive when both the Middle & Bottom Yards closed in 1969, by which time production had been fully transferred to NPBC's Arnold site.

My next two photos are of a brick which is now housed at Wollaton Hall's Industrial Museum & is self-explanatory. You won't find another one !


Photos by MF, courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. 

Reusing the Middle Yard's land for housing started on part of the site in 1965 well before the works had closed in 1969. Jeff writes in his book that brick demolition from the yards & bricks from the demolition of the houses in St. Ann's area where used to level the ground in an area of the former Middle Yard which is now a car sales site. The Bottom Yard was also used for housing after it had closed in 1969 & the last kiln at Mapperley was demolished in 1970. The Woodthorpe Drive clay reserve site was later used as a landfill site then restored in the 1970's to form Breckhill Recreation Ground.

It was under the guidance of Leslie Charles Bennett that the transition took place with the closure of the Thorneywood & Mapperley works & the total modernisation of the Dorket Head, Arnold works. With Leslie retiring he was then followed by his son, Peter who later became works manager at Dorket Head & more can be read about Peter later in the post.

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

So now on to NPBC's Dorket Head, Lime Lane, Arnold site as shown on the 1900 map above. I first go back to the 1870's when Samuel Robinson is listed as brickmaker in Arnold in Kelly's 1876, 81, 85 & 95 editions. Then in Kelly's 1885, 88 & 91 editions there is the entry for Robinson, Sykes & Co. Dorket Head, Arnold. I am taking this Robinson to be the same man in both these entries & it being the same yard at Dorket Head as this is the only brick yard that I can find marked on old maps in Arnold. Jeff Sheard has told me that it was the same Robinson family (John Robinson) that founded the Home Brewery Co. in Daybrook in 1875.

Photo by MF courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries.

An example of a brick made by Samuel Robinson at Arnold.
From an entry in the London Gazette I have found that Charles Bennett of the NPBC was in the partnership with Robinson & Sykes at Robinson, Sykes & Co. & this 30th of May 1892 entry was declaring that this partnership & the company had been dissolved by mutual consent. Any debts due to or owing to the said late firm would be received & paid by Samuel Robinson & Thomas Sykes. 
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/26298/page/3537/data.pdf


Photo courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.

So it looks like Charles Bennett of NPBC had also been a partner in this company possibly from 1885 when Robinson, Sykes & Co. had been formed. The reason for Charles leaving this partnership as we now know was so that NPBC could then purchase the Dorket Head brick yard. This took place in 1897 as we find in Kelly's 1900 Trade Directory the addition of the Arnold works in NPBC's entry.

I have also found in Jeff Sheard's book that Charles Bennett, Samuel Robinson & another gentleman by the name of David Whittingham were partners in another venture to provide allotments in the Porchester area of Nottingham & this development was called the Porchester Freehold Garden Estate. Looking on a modern street map we find that three roads running off the Plains Road where later named after the trio on this former allotment estate.

Photo courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.


A pre-1963 photo of the circular kiln at the Dorket Head Works, Arnold.

Photo courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.

The Dorket Head works in 1963 & this photo shows the newly constructed "brick factory" which was built around a new type of kiln, called the continuous "tunnel kiln". 

With the Company being run successfully by several members of the Bennett family we now fast forward to the late 1960s & with NPBC closing their yards at Thorneywood (1967) & Mapperley (1969) all brick production by 1969 had been transferred to the Dorket Head works where updated machinery had been installed. 


Photo courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.


Nottm. Patent Brick Co. lorry with "Hulo" pack load and self offloading crane.

The next change to report is the dropping of the name Patent from the company's name in 1976 & the company was then register as Nottingham Brick plc. 

Nottingham Brick then purchased the Maltby Brick Co., Maltby, Yorks. around 1985 & a new range of pressed bricks was introduced called the Oldcotes Range at this works. At the time of the take over the Maltby Brick Company were only producing wire cut bricks. Please note that the Maltby Brick Co. did manufacture pressed named bricks before moving over to the wire-cut method.


Photographed by MF at Bursledon Brick Museum.



Nottingham Brick Co. Maltby Brickworks making Oldcotes bricks - photo from Oldcotes Catalogue, courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.

Added 3.8.20. 
Mike Chapman informs me that this Maltby stamped brick was made at Nottingham Brick Co.'s Maltby Works before the decision was made to make these sand stock bricks under the Oldcotes brand name as per example above.

Photo by MF, courtesy of the Mike Chapman Collection.

With Leslie Bennett now retired, the running of the Company was in the hands of his son Peter, who became works manager. It was while Peter was in charge of the Dorket Head works, that it was taken over by Marley Building Products in 1987. Peter was then appointed Technical Manager at Maltby, a works which the company had taken over in 1985. Peter left the Company in 1991 & NPBC's long association with the Bennett family had ended. 

Nottingham Brick plc as said found themselves taken over by Marley Building Products in 1987 which in turn became part of the Tarmac Group in 1993. Ibstock then acquired Tarmac's brick making assets in 1995 & finally in 1999 CRH, an Irish based multinational purchased Ibstock but retained the Ibstock brand. The Dorket Head brickworks are still going strong under CRH/Ibstock & if you look at the 1900 Dorket Head map above you will see that the area which I have coloured yellow is now the extent of this works, with a roadway under Calverton Road connecting the two sites.   

Link to a visit to the Dorket Head Works in 2008.
http://www.mapperleyandsherwoodhistorygroup.co.uk/visit-to-ibstock-brick-works-at-dorket-head 



I now list the other brickmakers who are recorded in trade directories & Hunt's 1858 mineral statistics as working in Mapperley & Thorneywood. I have been unable to establish the location of their yards, but if I do & also find bricks made by these makers, this info & the photos of their bricks will be added at a later date. I first start with a brickmaker that I do have brick for.


Photo by Frank Lawson.

George Green is listed in Hunt's list as J & G Green, brick manufacturers at Mapperley with the freeholder of the land given as Thomas Morley. Estimated annual make at this yard was 500,000 red bricks & tiles in 1858. George Green is next listed on his own in Wrights 1862 & Whites 1864 editions at Mapperley & this entry is followed in Wright's 1868 edition at Huntingdon Street, this could be his office or home address ? 

My next brickmakers from Hunt's list are Pettinger & Wilkinson who operated at yard in Mapperley on land owned by Thomas North Esq. & produced an estimated 1,200,000 bricks in 1858. Thomas North was a wealthy land owner who lived at Basford Hall & also owned Babbington Colliery & brickworks & I cover Thomas North in Nottingham Brickworks - Part 2. I also have to note that Mapperley at this time fell within the parish of Basford. 

Photo by MF, courtesy of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries. 

Edwin G. Loverseed is listed at Woodborough Road, Mapperley in White's 1864 edition & I have found that Edwin is recorded as being the owner of the Nottingham Builders Brick Co. in 1876 & this yard will also be covered in my next Nottingham post.

John Needham is listed in Kelly's 1876 edition at Thorneywood Lane, New Sneinton.

John Scattergood, 1852 stats from Nottingham Library, location of yard, Goosewong Hill, Nottingham. Jeff Sheard has identified this yard as being where Cranmer Street is today.



I would like to thank the following people for their help in bringing my story of Nottingham brickmakers to the web.

Jeff Sheard - Jeff tells me that his book, Clay Stealers to St. Pancras Station is available to take out on loan from most of the local libraries in Nottingham. If you would like to own a copy of this book, Jeff still has a few copies available, so send me an e-mail & I will pass it on to him. 

Mike Chapman
Frank Lawson
Avril Roberts
Christine Drew - article on Alexandra Park. http://mapperleyandsherwoodhistorygroup.co.uk/a-brief-history-of-alexandra-park

Nottingham Museums & Galleries for allowing me to photograph their local bricks & put them on the web.

Nottingham C.C. Insight Mapping
National Library of Scotland - maps
Britain From Above