Sunday, 3 October 2021

Leicestershire Brickworks - part 1

Henry Dickens, Burton Bandalls & Rempstone

Henry Dickens (in some documents & records it's spelt as Dickins) was born in 1840 in Loughborough & the 1861 census records him as a brickmaker aged 21 living on Bridge Road, Loughborough together with his wife Elizabeth & 2 year old son, John Henry b. 1st February 1859. In 1861 Henry will have been working for another brickmaker. An advertisement in the Loughborough Monitor dated 5th of September 1867 reports Henry Dickens had re-opened the Burton Bandall's brickworks on the 28th of August & was willing to sell bricks & pipes at much lower prices than normally charged. The 1871 census records Henry was living & running his own brickworks at Burton Baudill. During my research I have found several ways of spelling Baudill, in Bandals & on the brick above Bandalls. One web reference states Bandalls is in the Parish of Burton on the Wolds on land running down to the River Soar. This spelling is used today for Bandalls Lane. Another son Thomas was born in 1865. Kelly's 1876 edition is the first trade directory for Henry Dickens at Burton Bandalls. I have coloured Henry's brickworks yellow on the 1879 OS map below.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1898.

We next find in the 1881 census that Henry & Elizabeth had moved to Rempstone, Notts., living on Main Street with Henry taking over the brickworks which was just south of the village on Loughborough Road. This census records Henry was employing 3 men & 3 boys. I have to note the village of Rempstone, Notts is situated very close to the border with Leicestershire & some trade directory entries do list it as Rempstone, Loughborough.

Meanwhile son John Henry is listed in the 1881 census as a brickmaker, unmarried & living at The Brickyard, Burton Bandalls. With Henry Dickens still listed in Leicestershire trade directories up to & including Kelly's 1900 edition at Burton Bandalls, son John Henry was running this Burton Bandalls works for his father during this time. The 1881 census records Henry's other son Thomas became an Agricultural Engine Driver & later a Coal Merchant. 

The two Dickens, Bandals bricks below will more than likely have been made by John Henry. 

John Henry Dickens, b.1859 in Thrussington is recorded in the 1891 census aged 32, a foreman brickmaker & now married to Elizabeth, living at the Brickyard House, Burton Bandalls. Their son Charles Harold was born on the 3rd of May 1888. As wrote John Henry continued to run this brickworks for his father to at least the early 1900's. The 1901 census records John Henry, a brick manufacturer (worker) was now living at 40 Glebe Street, Loughborough. I have come to the conclusion with there being no more trade directory entries for the Burton Bandall's works after 1900 that the good quality clay on this site had been worked out, hence the brickworks closing. I write more about John Henry & his son later.

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

Back to Henry Dickens at Rempstone & the 1891 census records Henry, aged 51, a Brick Manufacturer & living with his wife Elizabeth at The Old Manor House, Rempstone, so it appears Henry was making good money from brickmaking. I have coloured this brickworks green on the 1899 OS map above & the Old Manor House red. At this moment in time no bricks stamped Henry Dickens, Rempstone have turned up. So if you have got one please get in touch via email, the address of which can be found on the Contacts Tab at the top of this page. Thanks.

Still living at the Old Manor House in the 1901 census Henry is also listed as a Farmer as well as a Brick Master in Rempstone. Kelly's 1904 edition is the last trade directory recording Henry brickmaking at Rempstone. Henry died on the 10th of May 1909 leaving effects of £3610 19s & 3d to his son John Henry Dickens, brickworks manager & Henry Lovett, tailor. This probate notice records Henry had been a Coal Merchant at the time of his death.

I now digress & take you out of the East Midlands with me returning to John Henry Dickens & the 1911 census now records John Henry Dickens, wife Elizabeth & son Charles Harold were now living at 192, Charles Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. John Henry, 52 is listed as a brickmaker (worker) & 22 year old Charles Harold is listed as a Traveller - Brick Trade (salesman). Although there had been a brickworks on Charles Road up to 1900, John Henry was more than likely working at the Little Bromwich Brick Co's works which just around the corner from where he lived on Bordesley Green road. Charles Harold may have also worked for the Little Bromwich Brick Co. which was owned by the Winterton family. An old newspaper article reveals that the Winterton family lived in Cadby, Leicestershire & were also co-owners of the Gypsy Lane Brickworks in Leicester, so I am assuming John Henry Dickens knew the Winterton's hence his move to Birmingham & working at their Little Bromwich Brickworks.

The 1939 Register lists John Henry as a Brick Manager, aged 80 living at 51, Elmdon Lane, Marston Green, Birmingham & son Charles Harold is listed as a Brick Manufacturer living on Bordesley Green road, so from this Register it appears father & son were running their own brickworks, but where ? With me writing about the Little Bromwich Brick Co. on my UK brick site my findings are that the Winterton family owned their Little Bromwich brickworks up to 1951. There are no trade directory entries for Dickens owning a brickworks around 1939, so were the Dicken's running the Little Bromwich Brick for the Winterton Family ? I do know Mr. Winterton's son-in-law G.H. Major was Managing Director when LBBC was wound up in 1951. 

I do have a second option to were father & son were working in the late 1930's. With the help of Mark Cranston who has tracked down some newspaper articles & me studying old maps, I am putting forward a brickworks at Bickenhill which may have been owned & run by Charles Harold & John Henry Dickens. This works was only 4 miles from John's house & 7 miles from Charles'. Although the Dicken's are not named as such in this article which appeared in the Birmingham Daily Gazette dated 1st November, 1927, I think they were the owners of the Bickenhill Brickworks Limited. This Company with a capital of £5,000 pounds had been formed to purchase the "Bickenhill Brickworks" from it's directors Mr & Mrs Sutton of "Bora", Broad Lane near Coventry, who were also builders. This new company would then continue to operate the works, making brick, tiles, drain pipes & other clay goods. Bickenhill Brickworks Limited is listed in Kelly's 1928 & 1936 editions on Birmingham Road, Bickenhill. I have to note that today this former brickworks site is on Coventry Road & Birmingham Road does not start until the junction with the A452.

So had the Dicken's owned this Bickenhill Brickworks between 1927 & 1939 ? I have two bits of info which indicates this. First a Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper article dated April 1936 reports Charles Harold Dickens was standing down as a Vicar's Warden at St. Peters Church, Bickenhill after 12 years of service, with him planning to leave the district shortly. Then second the Dicken's certainly made money from brickmaking because when John Henry Dickens died on the 24th January 1942 he left effects of £24,323 2s 8d to his son Charles Harold Dickens, brickmaker & daughter Mrs. Alice Barker. Then when Charles died in June 1957, while living in Manor Road, Solihull, he left effects of £19,565 9s & 8d to his wife Constance. If I do get concrete evidence of the Dickens owning the Bickenhill Brickworks, I will update the post. 

If my research is correct the next owner of this works was Mr. Jackson who was advertising large quantities of bricks for sale in September 1939 from Jacksons Brickworks, Bickenhill. Also a second brickworks owned by the Bridge Brick Co. (red) had been established on the left hand side of the Bickenhill works (yellow) & both are shown on the 1937 OS map below. From a Brick Association advert both The Bridge Brick Co. & Jacksons were still trading in 1961. I think I am correct in saying that the Bridge Brick Co.'s works was taken over by Redland. Today industrial units now occupy these former brickworks sites, situated between the M42 & A452 on the A45.

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

More brickworks will be added when time allows.

Friday, 4 June 2021

The Hathern Station Brick & Terra Cotta Co. - works - Hathern Station near Loughborough & Cliff near Tamworth

The Hathern Station Brick Company near Loughborough, Leics. was established in 1874 by George Hodson & James F. Hodson. The first trade directory listing for the company appears in Kelly's 1876 edition. The brickworks was actually situated next to Hathern Railway Station on the edge of Sutton Bonington village & I have coloured the works yellow on the 1882 OS map below. 

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

Kelly's 1876 edition.

Kelly's 1881 edition.

An article in the December 1896 edition of the British Clayworker magazine reports The Hathern Station Brick & Terra-cotta Company Limited had been formed to raise capital of £40,000 pounds in £10 pound shares to acquire the business owned by G. Hodson at Sutton Bonington, Notts & at Cliff near Tamworth, Warwick & to then carry on the business as brick, tile, pipe & terra-cotta manufacturers. This new Company was incorporated in 1902 & the first trade directory entry listing this new company is in Kelly's 1904 edition. This business flourished & 'Hathernware' & glazed faience wares were exported worldwide during the first three decades of the twentieth century with many cinemas being faced and decorated with the products from this works. 

December 1907 advert.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced with permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1919.

This 1919 OS map shows the brickworks had increased in size & was now occupying two more fields since the 1882 map. 

I "acquired" this advert several years ago from a source that I cannot now remember where from, so if I am infringing any copyright I will remove this advert if asked to do so by it's owner. It may date from the early 1900's. 

In 1934 the Company re-branded it’s name to Hathernware Limited, Loughborough, manufacturers of terra-cotta & blue bricks. I am assuming with this 1934 info the company had ceased producing red bricks from this date, however the last trade directory listing the manufacture of bricks at the Hathern Station Works appears in Kelly's Notts. 1916 edition, so it may have been shortly after 1916 that red brick production ceased. WW1 may have been another factor for brick production to cease with many of their men joining up to go to war & the company then concentrating on producing their faience ware.

Although the Hathern Station works survived into the 1970's when restoration projects began to provide much needed business, a takeover by Ibstock finally led to closure of this works in the summer of 2004. The Hathern name is now owned by Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC & the company's terra cotta & faience wares are made at their Charnwood works in Shepshed.

Photo by Frank Lawson.

As wrote Hathern also manufactured blue bricks at their brickworks in Cliff, Kingsbury near Tamworth which they had taken over from Richard Bennett of Derby after his death in late 1885 or early 1886. Kelly's Warks. 1888 edition is the first listing for the Hathern Brick Co. at Cliff. Hathern closed it's Cliff Works in 1969. Today this former Cliff Brickworks site is the clay pit to Wienerberger's massive blue brick works which was built on the former Whateley Colliery & Brickworks site. I have coloured the Cliff Brickworks green & it's access road red on the 1902 OS map below.

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

I photographed this coping brick on a disused Nottingham Suburban Railway bridge in Woodthorpe Grange park, so this brick can be dated as being made before 1889 when the railway opened.

This is smooth faced thin paver has the Staffordshire Knot logo stamped in the centre of the frog.

This coping brick can be seen on a railway bridge situated on Station Road, Spondon, Derbys.


The Cliff Brickworks in 1928. 

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

Frank Lawson - photo
David Kitching - info
National Library of Scotland & Ordinance Survey - maps
Kelly's Directories
Graces Guide
Britain from Above

Friday, 7 July 2017

Stanley & West Hallam Brickworks


J. Barber

John Barber, Stanley. Photo by Frank Lawson.

There were two brickmakers who operated at this site in Stanley, Derbyshire, of which I have got an example by one of the makers, John Barber. These bricks were produced from the clay/shale which was found between the seams of coal at the adjoining colliery. Information for the brickworks at Stanley was rather sketchy until I came across an article on the web by Michael Robinson, a local historian in Stanley. Michael wrote that he had found a brickworks & cottages on Sough lane, now Dale Road marked on an Ordnance Survey map dated 1841 & then in White's 1857 Trade Directory I found that John Barber is listed as brickmaker & colliery owner in Stanley. 

Reverse of J. Barber. Photo by Frank Lawson.

The 1880/1 surveyed OS map below shows the location of the brickworks owned by John Barber then the Small Brothers.

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1880/1.

Small Brothers

The small pit & brickworks was then sold on the 13th of October 1858 to the Small Brothers, who set about sinking a deeper mine which was opened in 1870. It was at this time that the Small Brothers formed the Stanley Kilbourne Colliery Company. I have yet to find a brick in this name, but the Small Brothers also leased the colliery in Kilburn & I have a brick made by the Brothers at that works & it is stamped with the brothers initials & Kilburn on the reverse & this brick features in my Kilburn Post. The Stanley Kilbourne Colliery Company due to financial difficulties closed in 1885. 
I have found that after 1885 the brickworks ceased to exist but Stanley Kilbourne Colliery was later sold to the newly formed Derby Kilburn Colliery Company in 1893. After DKCC established their coal business they opened a brickworks at Chaddesden Hill & more can be read about this works in my Derby Brickworks - part 2 Post. 
I originally thought DKCC had taken over the brickworks at Stanley Kilbourne Colliery, but with finding that this brickyard does not show on the 1900 OS map it was back to the drawing board in finding DKCC's brickworks. It was through studying a 1900 map & following a tramway from Stanley that it reveal the location of DKCC's brickworks at Chaddesden Hill.

Updated 25.7.20.

I have recently photographed this Stanley brick at Cawarden Reclamation Yard & there is no makers mark on the other side, so there's a strong possibility that the Small Brothers used Barber's "Stanley" plates in their moulds with it being the same frog & stamp mark. I am assuming this was to save money which was an asset the brothers were always short of. Fellow brick collector, Frank Lawson has also photographed one of these Stanley bricks, which he found while walking near Stanley village.

West Hallam


Photo taken at the Silk Mill Museum, Derby.

I have three options for the maker of this Hallam brick, my first option & first choice is G. Adamson & he is listed as brickmaker at West Hallam in Kelly’s 1864 edition. From the style of the lettering on this brick it indicates to me that it was made around 1864. G. Adamson may have owned the Mapperley Crossroads yard as shown on the 1900 map below which is in my second option. I have also found that this yard is also shown on the 1880 map, so it could well have been there in 1864.

My second option from a web article is the Newdigate family. Their brickworks was situated near to Mapperley Crossroads just to the north of West Hallam village & had been built in the early 1900's next to the family's saw mill & this brickworks is shown on the 1900 map below. I have also found from an article in the Ilkeston Pioneer newspaper that there was a previous brickworks on this site in 1885. The owner Colonel Newdigate had instructed Mr. Wright Lissett to sell by auction all of the plant, machinery, brick presses & moulds from the brickworks. As said a sawmill followed this brickworks after 1885 & another brickworks was built again by the Newdigate family in the early 1900's. This 1900's brickworks then became a pottery & two bee-hive kilns were built in the 1920's of which one was demolished in the 1950's, but the most interesting fact is that I found in this article was that these two bee-hive kilns had been built using the bricks from the original bee-hive kiln & buildings of the 1900 brickworks & sawmill. I then ask, could these bricks have also come from the original brickworks in 1885, it's possible ! 
Todays Kiln Close also occupies part of this former brickworks site & all of the fields which surrounds the word West on the map below, have all had houses built upon them & forms part of West Hallam. 

My third option is for a brickmaker with the name of Hallam, but as yet I have not found no trade directory entries for a brickmaker with that name. 

Some of the Newdigate information for this entry was found in this link.

West Hallam Colliery Co.

Photo by MF courtesy of Erewash Museum, Ilkeston.

West Hallam Colliery & it's associated brickworks was on High Lane, West Hallam & I first use the 1900 OS below to show their locations. The colliery is recorded in mining references as being in production from 1893 to 1933, with the colliery still listed in 1940, but with no men recorded as being either below or on the surface. 
Originally this colliery consisted of four pits & the one marked West Hallam Colliery on the 1900 map is shown as No. 4 pit on the 1879 map. Also on the 1879 map (shown below the 1900 map) there is a brick kiln marked just to the right of No. 4 pit. We then find by the 1900 map a new larger brickworks had been established next to the Nutbrook Canal & had been built on the site of the former West Hallam Iron Works, which is shown on the 1879 map along with West Hallam Colliery No.1 pit. 

The brickworks as shown on 1900 map must have closed around 1912 as this brickworks is no longer shown on the next map dated 1913. As said the colliery appears to have closed by 1940.

I originally attributed the WHC brick below to William Horridge, brickmaker at Cotmanhay, but there is the possibility that WHC stands for West Hallam Colliery. We may never know for certain who actually made this brick, only
the person who donated it to the Silk Mill Museum in Derby will have the answer, but I expect too many years have elapsed since then to trace the finder of this brick. I have since found that the Museum has very few records for their bricks. 

Photographed at the Silk Mill Museum, Derby by Frank Lawson.

Many Thanks to :-
Erewash Museum, Ilkeston
Silk Mill Museum, Derby
Frank Lawson
NLS/Ordnance Survey

Monday, 17 April 2017

Newark, Orston, Kelham, Ossington & Caunton Brickworks

Newark Brick Co.

Photo by MF, courtesy of Newark & Sherwood Museum Services.

The main shareholder in the Newark Brick Co. was Mrs. Emily Blagg, who was locally known as "Newark's Lady Builder," but I first start with the events that lead up to Mrs. Blagg opening this works in 1925.

Emily Stevens (1863-1935) moved to Newark in 1883 from Altringham, Cheshire to work for a clothing company called Coopers, where she stayed until 1903. By which time she had become the buyer for the clothing company visiting Paris on many occasions. After leaving this company she acquired a large number of shares in a brickworks in Dinnington, Yorkshire & she is also thought to have owned the small brickworks which was on Clay Lane in Newark at this date. It was now that she became a property developer, purchasing land off London Road & over the next three years building the houses known as The Park. In 1905 & aged 42 Emily married butcher William Blagg & they went to live at No. 2 The Park for eight years. After building more quality houses on Lime Grove which became to be known as Newark's most elegant & much sought after place to live, Emily built her own home at 131, Lime Grove which was started in 1912 & was called The Lodge. It was here that Emily & her husband would spend the rest of their lives.

Emily then built Newark's first motion picture cinema called the Kinema on Baldergate, which opened it's doors on the 20th December 1913. A few years later Emily built another cinema, The Palace on Appletongate which opened in July 1920 & is thought to have been made using bricks from her Clay Lane, Newark brickworks & some from the brickworks at Dinnington. Within a year Emily had sold her two cinemas to a group of Sheffield business men who operated cinemas in that city.

In April 1921 Emily went into partnership with Frank M. Johnson forming Blagg & Johnson, metal pipe & guttering manufacturers on Massey Street in Newark. It was to be on Massey Street that Emily was to later build her brickworks which fronted on to this street. The engineering works was built to the rear of this site & while excavations were taking place for this building, good quality brick making clay was found & not to miss an opportunity Mrs Blagg then built part of the engineering works notably the steel stores on supporting piers so that the clay could continue to be extracted from under the building. The exact date of the opening of the brickworks is unknown, but Mrs Blagg registered the The Newark Brick Co. at Companies House, Cardiff on the 25th May 1925. 

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

On the 1937 map above I have coloured Massey Street purple, the engineering works green & the location of the brickworks yellow, as it had closed by this 1937 map & all of the brickworks had been demolished. Situated between the brickworks & the factory & shown on this map where a row of five terraced houses originally known as Palethorpe's Buildings, then later Beacon Terrace/Row. They had been built in 1827/30 & where continually occupied until they were demolished in 1951. One these houses was occupied by William Smyth who fired the kilns for Mrs Blagg.

The directors of the Newark Brick Co. were Mrs Emily Blagg, her brother, Walter William Stevens, builder, Robert Vickers, Clarence Wade & Annie Maria Adlington with Mrs Blagg owning the majority of the shares. Alan Menmuir was incharge of the day to day running of the two works with Mrs Blagg overseeing her interests on a daily basis, attending the works from 9.30 to 3.30 every working day.

An account of the brickworks published in 1927 records that the plant was highly mechanised with a light railway constantly bring clay from the pit to the grinding pan which crushed the clay before sending it for screening & then to the mixing machine. The mixed clay ending up at the pug-mill where a machine then forced it into moulds, which where then pressed. After drying using the waste heat from an adjacent cooling kiln which had previously been used, up to 200,000 bricks where then loaded into another one of the kilns.  

After a share issue was not taken up by the public a motion was put to the Board at a special meeting on the 27th February 1928 to put the brickworks into Liquidation. This motion was later passed with the works closing on the 4th February 1929. It is unknown if the brickworks closed because of the shortfall in the sale of these shares or if the clay had simply run out on site. I have found no trade directory entries for the Newark Brick Co. during it's three/four years of production. The engineering works continued under Mrs Blagg's guidence until her death at the age of 72 in April 1935. Blagg & Johnson still continue to this day, with their works now situated on Brunel Drive. As a footnote the old claypit void underneath the floor of the engineering works was put to good use as an air raid shelter during WW2 for the company's worker force.

I am indebted to Tim Warner of the Newark Advertiser who's articles on Mrs Blagg appeared in this newspaper many moons ago & the information taken from these articles has been used with the newspaper's permission. A more detailed account about Mrs Blagg by Tim Warner can be read at these links. This link contains two photos, one of the brickworks & one of the engineering works on Massey Street.

Clay Lane, Newark & Caunton Brickworks

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

As previously mentioned, Mrs Blagg owned a brickworks on Clay Lane, Newark & this works can be seen on the 1883 map above coloured green & situated not to far from Massey Street (coloured purple where the railway line loops round). It is thought that this works was operated by Mrs Blagg from the early 1900's up to 1920, but this cannot be verified.
With this brickworks being shown on this 1883 map, I have a trade directory entry for Duke & Smith owning this brickworks on Clay Lane in Kelly's 1881 edition. I have further entries for William Duke at Lowdham in Kelly's 1876, 1881 editions & the 1885 edition reads William Duke, 6, Victoria Street, Newark (home), works Lowdham. I am taking it that this William Duke is the same man as in the partnership of Duke & Smith. I next find that Thomas Smith is listed as brickmaker at Caunton in Kelly's 1876 edition. So it appears that Thomas was in partnership with William Duke by 1881 at the Clay Lane brickworks. Below is a photo of a brick made by Thomas which was taken by Frank Lawson & who has since donated this brick to Newark & Sherwood Museum Services.  

Photo by Frank Lawson.

Robert Lineker, Newark

Photo by Frank Lawson. Frank has now donated this brick to Newark & Sherwood Museum Services.

Reverse of Lineker. Photo by Frank Lawson.

Robert Lineker is listed as brickmaker in White's 1853 edition at Beacon Hill, Newark, then in Kelly's 1855 edition he is listed at Balderton, Newark. From a family website a Robert Lineker is recorded in the 1851 Census as living at Balderton, but there is no listing of his profession, but I think he is our man as a list of his children's baptisms records him as brick & tile manufacturer on this web page. The exact location of his works is unknown. The 1853 entry lists him at Beacon Hill & his works was more than likely on Beacon Hill as the 1855 entry of Balderton may have been his home address same as recorded in the 1851 Census. It is from an article on the web about VOB that Robert Lineker is mention as a small independent gypsum, plaster, brick & tile manufacturer in Newark who was brickmaking between 1850 & 1860. Robert had completed an independent survey for the VOB on it's gypsum & clay reserves at both Orston & Newark. No exact date is given for this report, but a date of 1865 is given when the company issued a prospectus for the raising of share capital which included this report. The article goes on to say that from 1856 Robert Lineker got into financial difficulties that forced him eventually to sell his property & close his business by 1860. Apparently in November 1859 a court judgement was made against Robert Lineker for a debt of £332 owing to William Newton, who was a banker & a share holder in the Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Company. So it looks like Robert sold up to repay this debt. 

The web article goes on to say that Robert Lineker in 1860 was calling himself a farmer. Then in 1861 Lineker is described as brickmaker & had entered into a partnership with Samuel Fretwell, a builder & stonemason in Newark as brick & tile manufacturers. There are no trade directory entries for this partnership & it may have been short lived as we next find that Samuel Fretwell is only listed as builder in White's 1864 edition & Lineker is not listed. 

Now finding this Samuel Fretwell info sent a tingle down my spine, as they say, as my name is Fretwell ! As far as I know I am not directly connected to this Newark branch of the Fretwell family. Research by my Cousin Jean has revealed that the Fretwell's "followed the coal" & everywhere you find a colliery in the East Midlands, you will find a miner by the name of Fretwell. Apparently it all started in Scunthorpe & the Fretwell's moved east, colliery to colliery, thus ending up in Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire. My Grandad in Huthwaite was a miner & he had 8 brothers & his father was one 8 brothers, so going back to my great great grandfather's brothers, there may be a connection to Newark, the date of the 1860's then fits.

Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co.

Belvoir bricks were made by the Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. at their three brickworks, situated at Beacon Hill, Newark; Bowbridge Lane, Balderton, Newark (also recorded as the Lowfield Works) & in the village of Orston near Newark where the company had been founded in 1867 & had their largest brickworks. Gypsum & plaster were also produced at these three works & I have found that the Company also owned other works in Newark where they only produced plaster products. Below are four maps showing the four brickworks owned by the company & includes the old & new works at Lowfield. Orston which is in Nottinghamshire, lies within the Vale of Belvoir, hence the company's name.  

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1883.
Orston Works in 1883.

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1899.
Beacon Hill Works in 1899.

  © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1899.
Bowbridge Works in 1899. (later known as Lowfield).

 © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1915.
2nd Lowfield Brickworks in 1915.

I first start three years earlier in the build-up to the formation of the Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. & in 1864 William Jacobs who quarried gypsum & produced plaster at his Trent Works in Newark purchased the Royal Plaster Works situated in the village of Orston from Willis & Co. of London who were on the verge of closing their Orston Works. William was then joined by James Carter an auctioneer & stock broker from Nottingham who then purchased land just south of the village of Orston & a larger gypsum, plaster & brick works was established next to the Great Northern Railway. This new works took two years to build & get operational. In the mean time in 1865 Jacobs & Carter in order to finance their new venture decided to raise share capital in their Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster, Cement & Mineral Company, but this venture failed to gain the required subscriptions despite it's good local publicity & appearing in London's financial newspapers. So despite this set back the works was opened on the 3rd of April 1866 & the company at first only made bricks during the summer months as their core activities were in producing cement, plaster & gypsum. Clay was only a by-product of this activity with it being found overlaying the gypsum & after testing was found to make good quality bricks which were used to build some of the buildings at this new Orston Works. 

So after this failed attempt to raise the required share capital a new company, The Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. was formed in March 1867 with Jacobs & Carter being joined by James Hobson & Newark solicitor William Newton. William Jacobs became manager of the works & this new business started off well. Then in February 1868 the decision was made to expand the business by purchasing Stocker & Bell, another plaster manufacturer in Newark who were on the edge of closure. To finance this acquisition 350 new shares where issued to the partners in Hardy & Company, bankers in Grantham, who owned part of the lease of the land on which Stocker & Bell's works was sited. This is where things start to go downhill for VOB as the accounts had not been kept up to date. The company was then restructured in 1870 with the hope that new investors would be found, but this did not happen. In November 1870 William Jacobs wrote to a customer, "I am sorry to say that that we are quite out of bricks at our Orston Works, therefore shall not be able to send you any more until next season." So from this account the company was still only producing bricks in the summer months. VOB then advertised in the August 16th 1871 edition of the Newark Advertiser that they were making bricks at 5s per 1,000. I expect this advertisement was to entice customers back to the company.
As previously wrote the 1870 restructure did not solve VOB's financial problems & the company went into Liquidation on 12th May 1873. This is the notice that appeared in the Newark Advertiser dated October 1st 1873.
"Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. into Liquidation."
For Sale -
Lot 1 - 7 acres at Orston inc. brick kilns.
Lot 2 - Bowbridge - kilns & brick plant; Beacon Hill & Mineral Hill, North Gate & Trent Works.
North Gate adapted for the manufacture of plaster of paris, cement, bricks, tiles etc.

Hardy & Co. who had previously been financial backers & share holders in VOB then purchased all the Works through a 3rd party (Mr Holland) at Auction. After which they continued to trade as The Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. Then in 1897 Hardy & Co. sold VOB to Mr R.P. Almond who had been the General Manager at the Company. After this sale of the Company Hardy & Co. continued to be share holders in Almond's "new" Company until it closed. Kelly's 1900 trade directory records Almond's new company as The Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. & still operating the three brickworks at Orston, Beacon Hill & Bowbridge (also recorded on maps as the Lowfield Works). Almond is next recorded in the two articles from which I have obtained this VOB information from, as owning the Orston plaster & brick works until it closed in 1920/1928. I have put both dates as these two articles contradicts each other on the closure date of the Orston Works. As to the brickworks at Beacon Hill & Bowbridge Road still being operational after Almond's purchase of VOB is "slightly in question", as the account of these two works is not recorded in the articles from which I have obtained most of the history of VOB from. I have found from trade directory entries that the Beacon Hill Works is last listed under Almond's Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. in Kelly's 1900 edition & this works may have then been sold, as new owners, The Beacon Hill Brick Co. are listed at this works in Kelly 1904 edition & I write about the Beacon Hill Brick Co. later. The Bowbridge/Lowfield Works is last recorded as being owned by the Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. in Kelly's 1904 edition, but this is also the last trade directory entry for the Orston Works. My only conclusion is that Almond still operated the Bowbridge Road Works along with the Orston Works until 1920/28 as we next find in Kelly's 1928 edition that Thomas Ward & Co. are listed as running the Bowbridge Road brickworks in Balderton. Thomas Ward continues to be listed as brickmaking at the Balderton Works in Kelly's 1932 & 36 editions, Directory of Newark 1938 edition, then Kelly's 1941 edition. The Government's Ministry of Works 1941 census of brickworks lists Thomas W. Ward Ltd. of Sheffield as operating the Vale of Belvoir Brickworks at Newark-on-Trent & extracting Keuper Marl (clay) for brickmaking. Then the 1949 edition of the British Clayworkers Directory lists Thomas Ward Ltd. at the Vale of Belvoir Works, New Balderton, Newark. The last trade directory entry found for Thomas Ward at New Balderton is in Kelly's 1950 edition. All these entries are the same works. 1950 was also the year that the brickworks closed as it is shown as disused on the 1950 map. Please note that this is the second brickworks to be built at Lowfield/Bowbridge Lane, Balderton & can be seen on the 1915 map above marked as the Lowfield Brickworks. 

No information has been found to say if Thomas Ward Ltd. were operating the plaster works at the Lowfield Works as well from 1928, so my only conclusion is that it may have closed before Ward's takeover of the brickworks in 1928. As of yet no bricks stamped Ward have been found. 
Until recently this former brickworks site (2nd brickworks) had been used as smallholdings, but now the whole of this area is in the process of being regenerated with Newark's new Southern Relief Road being built to take traffic from the A46 to the A1 & plans are a foot to build houses & industrial units on the land previously used as gypsum quarries owned by VOB & Cafferata. 

Update 3.7.19.
Brian Mackinney has sent me this info - "Hi Martyn, My father was foreman at the Belvoir Brickworks, Balderton in the forties and early fifties before it was taken over and shut down by Cafferata." 
I then asked Brian if his father worked for Thomas Ward & if the works stamped their bricks Ward or Belvoir & this was his reply - " That’s right, he worked for Thos. W. Ward. I’m a bit hazy on details, but as a child I spent a fair amount of my time there. I can still have the sense of the smell of the freshly pressed bricks. I used to help to load the lorries and go out with the drivers to deliver the bricks in the late forties. That was in the days when I used to do a paper round in the village at the age of 8 and buy Woodbines with my earnings. I think it was called Belvoir Brickworks, but I can’t remember if the name was on the bricks.
The down side of the lack of health and safety regulations was also a time of lack of unemployment support and benefit. When Cafferata shut down the Lowfield Works, my father was left with no job other than as a labourer at Cafferata Brickworks across the road. In this capacity he had a nasty toe injury which never healed properly and had fateful consequences.

Many thanks Brian for sending me your information which includes the bit about Cafferata taking over the Lowfield Works after Thomas Ward. It explains why I have only found Cafferata bricks on the edge of this former brickworks site.

As I have slightly digressed I now return to the trade directory entries for the Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co., but first I quickly tell you that after the Orston Works had closed Mr. Almond's sister, Lissie Almond who was the leaseholder of the land, sold the property in 1928 to Lt.Col. N.G. Pearson. Pearson then gave the land to the Girl Guides Association who demolished the buildings in 1930 & created an adventure area. As of 1991, the date of the info article, the Girl Guide Association still owned & used this adventure site.

These are the trade directory listings for Vale of Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. which are in the Brick & Tile Manufacturers Section.
Kelly's 1885 - Works, Beacon Hill, Newark; Bowbridge; Orston.
K. 1888 - Works, Beacon Hill, Newark.
K. 1891 - Works, Orston Sidings, GNR; Lowfield Sidings, GNR; Beacon Hill, Newark. Mr. Richard P. Almond, Manager.
White's 1894 - Works, Newark.

Belvoir & Newark Plaster Co. (now owned by Richard Almond).
Kelly's 1900 - Works, Orston Sidings, GNR; Lowfield Sidings, GNR; Beacon Hill, Newark.
K. 1904 - Works, Orston Sidings, GNR; Lowfield Sidings, GNR.

As previously recorded, Bowbridge & Lowfield are the same works on Bowbridge Road, Balderton, Newark.

Various Belvoir stamped bricks made by VOB.

Photo by MF, courtesy of Newark & Sherwood Museum Services.

These are the two links from which most of this information has come from & includes a more detailed account of VOB's financial woes & two photos, the Orston Works & one of VOB's gypsum quarries.,%20Not.pdf

Beacon Hill Brick Co. 

Photo by Mike Chapman.

The Beacon Hill Brick Co. (Newark) Ltd. are listed in Kelly's 1904 & 08 editions at Beacon Hill, Newark with registered offices at Beaumond Cross, Newark. The next snippet of info that I have for this brick company is that it is listed along with many other companies in the London Gazette dated 29th August 1913 as being struck off the Joint Stocks Register & as such the company had been dissolved. 

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

1899 map showing the location of The Beacon Hill Brick Company's works which had previously been owned by the Belvoir & Newark Plaster Company. The 1915 map shows this former brickworks now as a Cement Works which was gone by the 1938 map. Today a steel fabrication works & houses now occupy part of this site with the rest being covered in trees.


William Cafferata a stocks & shares broker in Liverpool purchased The Newark Plaster Co. in June 1862. The company comprised of a gypsum quarry, a plaster mill, a brickworks & a boiler works which where all situated on Beacon Hill in Newark & I have used the 1899 map below to show their location. The works was known as the Great Northern Works. The first trade directory entry that I have found for the Beacon Hill brickworks appears in White's 1864 edition as Cafferata & Co. Great Northern Plaster Works, Beacon Hill, Newark.

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

At first William concentrated on producing large industrial Cornish & Lancashire boilers, but after a problem with a boiler exploding under pressure which resulted in several deaths in 1866, William then reduced production on that side of the business & concentrated on quarrying gypsum & producing plaster & bricks.

In 1867 the brickyard was producing 30,000 bricks per week. The quality of which unless burnt very hard would not withstand severe weather conditions & would soon crumble. On saying that houses built of these bricks still stand in Newark today.

William Cafferata died on the 5th September 1874 with his wife taking control of the Company with the help of her son Redmond Parker Cafferata. In 1881 Redmond purchased his mother's interests in the company for £12,000 pounds, which is equivalent to over one million pounds today. 

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

With the reserves at the Beacon Hill quarry starting to deplete, Redmond then established a new gypsum quarry & brickworks at Hawton in 1874 & this new works can be seen on the 1899 map above. This Hawton works is shown on the 1875 map, but the quality of this map is not as good as the one used. The red coloured road is Bowbridge Road & the village of Hawton is just to the north-west of this map, with Newark town centre to the north.

Between 1892 & 1894 three of Redmond Parker's sons joined him at the company & in 1908 control of the company was passed over to his sons with Redmond Parker retiring. Financial problems hit the company as well as quality issues in their plaster production & it was not until 1922 that the company was re-organized & new cash was injected into the new company of Cafferata & Company Limited, which now included five of Redmond Parker's seven sons. The first Directors of this new Limited Company were Louis William Cafferata (Chairman and Managing Director), Hubert Marie Cafferata, Redmond Barton Cafferata and Bernard Joseph Cafferata, with Cyril Francis Cafferata as Secretary. By 1926 the family were enjoying large profits from the fruits of their labours. In 1928 Gerald Cafferata son of Redmond Barton joined the company straight from London University at the age of 22 & showed a keen interest in improving the quality of the companies plasters.  

The Beacon Hill brickworks had been closed during WW1 & when it reopened afterwards it was producing 100,000 bricks per week. Whether the Hawton brickworks was still in production after WW1 is unknown as the last trade directory entry for the Hawton brickworks is 1900 & the 1915 map only shows this works as gypsum quarries. 

1935 sees the opening of a new plaster & brickworks on 400 acres of land next to Jericho Lodge & this brick & plaster works can be seen on the 1950 map below & coloured green.  Kelly's 1936 edition lists this new brickworks at New Balderton on Bowbridge Lane. The Hawton works continues to be shown only as gypsum quarries at this date. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1950.

Also in 1935 Redmond Barton Cafferata retires to France & in 1936 the whole of the share capital in Cafferata & Co. Ltd. was acquired by The British Plaster Board Limited with both Hubert & Louis retiring. Although being taken over the company continued to operate under it's original name & Cyril Francis Cafferata was appointed chairman and joint managing director with Bernard Joseph Cafferata. Cyril retired in 1943 and Bernard left in 1946. Gerald Cafferata son of Redmond Barton & grandson of Redmond Parker Cafferata was subsequently appointed chairman and managing director & was the last of the family to work at the company.

The Beacon Hill brickworks continued to produce bricks until the start of WW2 when it closed due to the shortage of manpower & the slump in the building trade. The last trade directory entry for this works is in Kelly's 1941 edition. On the other hand the Jericho Lodge brickworks continued to be operational through out the duration of WW2. The last of the company's brickworks at Jericho Lodge closed in 1962 & in 1973 Gerald Cafferata retired ending over 100 years of continuous service of the Cafferata family working in Newark which was started by William Cafferata in 1862, Gerald's great grandfather. Today the former Beacon Hill works is an industrial site with access via Cafferata Way. Plans have been drawn up to build houses & industrial units on the Hawton plaster works & the Jericho Lodge plaster works is now owned by Saint Gobain Formula.    

The majority of the information used in this entry has been taken from Richard Cafferata's website, who I wish to thank. A more detailed account of the Cafferata's business & the history of the family in Newark can be read at this link.

Kelham Brick Co.

The Kelham Brick Company appears to have only been in operation for only a few years. The works is not shown on the 1899 map & is only shown as disused on the 1912 map. I have used the 1915 map below to show the location of this works on Broadgate Lane, Kelham. I have not found any trade directory entries for this company & the only reference found appears in the London Gazette dated 6th July 1920 when the Kelham Brick Company was struck off the Joint Stock Companies Register & as such the company had been dissolved. Most of the buildings belonging to this brickworks as shown on the 1915 map still stand today. The day I called by in 2013, a house was in the process of being built on the footprint of one of the original buildings & the rest of the buildings were being restored with plans to use them as outbuildings for storage. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1915.


JED reverse Clayton's Patent. 
Made using one of Henry Clayton's brickmaking machines. A link to information about these machines can be seen at the end of the post. 

JED = John Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington owned Ossington Hall in the village of Ossington from 1820 to 1873. His estate brickworks is shown as disused on a map dated 1875 & I have used the 1883 map below to show it's location, also marked as disused. Both of these two JED bricks where found in the village of Ossington which is just north of Newark. T. Hempstock is listed as brickmaker in Ossington in Kelly's 1855 edition & there is the option that he may have worked for the Viscount & made these bricks or he may have just been an independent brickmaker working or living in the village ?

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

 JED reverse Patent. 

Brown & Ragsdale

Photo by Ben Powell.

Ben Powell found this B & R brick in the village of Barnby-in-the-Willows near Newark in September 2021 & duly sent me this image. Brown & Ragsdale are listed in Kelly's 1853 edition at Milgate; works, Beacon Hill, Newark. With this partnership not being recorded in Kelly's 1864 I am assuming it had been dissolved by this date, however in this 1864 trade directory a James Brown is listed as brickmaking in Lowdham, so was this the same Brown ? As for Ragsdale the nearest match found is John Ragsdale, a Coal Dealer & Merchant living in Newark as recorded in the 1841, 51 & 61 census. A partnership of a brickmaker & coal dealer has been found before, so I cannot discount these two men of being partners. There's no record of this partnership being dissolved in the London Gazette.  

The following two bricks are in Newark & Sherwood Museum Services Collection, but I have been unable identify the makers of these bricks. The initials do not match any Nottinghamshire trade directory entries, but if do identify the makers, I will update the post.

 J or I - R - N. I am taking it that the N stands for Newark. Then with the Brown & Ragsdale brick turning up in September 2021, is this J R - N brick, John Ragsdale ? The shape of the frog certainly matches & the use of an I for a J has been found on many early made bricks.

S.R. Co.

Update 13.5.17.
I have now found that this S.R. Co. fire brick was more than likely made by Swann Radcliffe & Co. in Derbyshire & the company are listed in the Fire Brick Manufacturers section in these Kelly's editions, 1912, 25, 32, & 41 at Brassington, Wirksworth, Derbys. Cope’s 1937 edition also lists Swann Radcliffe & Co. (Brassington) Ltd. at Brassington, Wirksworth, Derbys. Info from the Brassington website records that the brickworks was actually at Hopton near Brassington & was employing 16 men in 1962. It goes on to say that the brickworks closed in 1971. 

I round off this post with a list of brickmakers/companies who are recorded in trade directories as operating in or around Newark. As of yet no named bricks have been found by any of these makers.

N. Parkins, Caunton, Kelly's 1855 edition.

Robinson & Wilson, Stodman Street, Newark, White's 1864, then Stodman Street & Spring House Wharf, White's 1853, then William Robinson, Hawton, Newark & 2,Stodman Street, Kelly's 1876 edition.

Thomas Turner, Balderton, Newark, Kelly's 1876 & 1881 editions.

Fisher & Co. Besthorpe, Newark Kelly's 1876 edition.

Shelton Brick Co. Shelton, Newark, Kelly's 1881 edition. 

J. Sheppard, Millgate, White's 1853, Kelly's 1855, then White's 1864 edition at Beacon Hill & Millgate. 
Fellow brick enthusiast, Mike Chapman spotted this T. Sheppard brick in the grounds of Newark Castle next to the river. We think that it is a T, on the other hand it could be a fancy J & is dated 27th June 1837. I am wondering if T. Sheppard was J. Sheppard's father & made the bricks for this wall or could he have been a dignitary at the Council & just laid this brick in the wall ? 

Photo by Mike Chapman.

Link to fellow collector Mark Cranston's brick site which contains the article about Henry Clayton's patented brick making machines & includes many drawings of these machines.

I wish to Thank the following people in bringing this Post to the Web.
Newark & Sherwood Museum Services.
The Newark Advertiser & Tim Warner.
Ordnance Survey/National Library of Scotland.
Frank Lawson.
Mike Chapman.
Ben Powell.
Newark Library.
Richard Cafferata.
P. Barnes & R.J. Firman.
The London Gazette. 
Kelly's & White's Trade Directories.