Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ripley & Alfreton Brickworks

Ripley was once the home of the mighty Butterley Brick Company which had operated the Waingroves Brickworks in the town & the Codnor Park Brickworks nearby. With the high demand for bricks in the late 19th & early 20th centuries, I have found that there were many smaller brickmakers, who had also operated in this area. So here are the bricks that I have found so far with information about their makers.

C. Shelton, Ripley

I have found two entries for Charles Shelton at Ripley in Kelly's Directories. The 1864 entry records him as Chas. & the second in 1881 as Charles. Were they the same man & if not, which one made this brick ?

Kelly's 1864 entry lists Chas. Shelton as brickmaker at Greenwich, Ripley. We next find Chas. listed in the 1876 edition as brickmaker & auctioneer. The 1881 edition now records him as brickmaker/auctioneer plus Inspector of nuisances to the Local Board. This job was an early form of Environmental Health Inspector looking after street drains etc. Entries in the 1887 & 1891 editions only records Chas. as an Inspector of nuisances to the Local Board.

Now on to the second entry which is listed as Charles Shelton & Son at nearby Waingroves in Kelly's 1891 edition. He could be our first Charles that has started up again as Charles Shelton & Son, as we then find in the next directory entry for 1899, the listing is for J.J. Shelton at Waingroves. J.J. is more than likely Charles's son. This entry for J.J. Shelton is repeated in the 1900 edition, but it is also the last. Alternatively this Charles & J.J. Shelton may be a different family all together & only by more research will this issue be resolved.

Ripley, reverse of C. Shelton

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

1900 map showing location of Charles Shelton & then his son's works situated in Waingroves village (coloured blue) from 1891 to 1900. The brickworks marked in yellow was Butterley's Waingroves works. 

Shelton, Ripley

The maker of this Shelton brick has also got two options. It could have been made by J.J. as above, but I am drawn to it being made by Mrs. Mary Shelton who is recorded as brickmaker at Upper Straight Lane, Ripley in Kelly's 1891 edition through to it's 1904 edition.

T. Slack, Ripley

T. Slack of Green Hillocks, Ripley, was a brick and tile maker between 1860 and 1864. This late 19th century map below shows the location of this brickworks, which was next to the Gas Works on Station Road / Peasehill Lane. Today this road is called Peasehill Road. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey.

Also to note on this map, on the opposite side of the road from the brick works were the railway lines are marked. This is where in later years the new Whiteley Road was built to access Butterley's Waingroves Brickworks. The Butterley Company had originally used the narrow Pit Lane from the village of Waingroves to enter into it's works.

Watson, Ripley

George Watson of Alfred Street, Ripley is first recorded in Kelly's Trade Directory in 1881. In the 1899 edition, Greenwich is recorded after his name, so this is more than likely the address of his yard. Kelly's 1900 edition is the last entry for George.

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

1900 map of the Greenwich area of Ripley. I have three brickmakers listed as working in Ripley/Greenwich area & one of these two marked brickworks could have owned by George Watson 1891 to 1900 & the other one may have been first worked by Chas. Shelton 1864 to 1881, then by  Mrs Mary Shelton 1891 to 1904. 

Could this Mrs. Mary Shelton been the wife of Chas. Shelton carrying on after her husband death in 1891 at Greenwich with their son J.J. operating a second works at Waingroves village until 1900 ?   I have no firm evidence to back up this theory only that there are no other brickworks marked on the 1900 O.S map covering the Ripley area.

Today Dannah Street Primary School is now built on the yellow marked brickworks & Porterhouse Road now occupies the former brickworks site marked in blue.

G. Roe, Ripley

George Roe of Cromford Road, Ripley is recorded in White's Directory for 1857.

Bowman, Ripley

Henry Bowman, brickmaker at Marehay, Ripley is listed in Kelly's Directory for 1888. This 1900 map below shows the location of Henry's brickworks & with this works being shown as operational in 1900 Henry may have still been there or another brickmaker may have taken over ?  It is not until a 1934 map that this works is marked disused.

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

Codnor Ville

Updated 2.1.17.
Stuart Saint has just sent me a newspaper advertisement dated 1858 which now reveals that this brickworks was called Codnor Ville Brick Yard & not Codnor Mill as first thought. So I have re-written this entry.

When initially researching this brick my searches on the web had drawn a blank, even visiting Ripley Library produced no clues to it's maker or the works location. It was suggested that I should contact Stuart Saint at his Codnor Info website to see if he knew anything about this brickyard. I asked him if there had been a mill in Codnor & from the information sent by Stuart I came to the conclusion that the brickyard had been named after a nearby flour mill which had been situated on Coppice Road. This road is now called Mill Lane & the mill is shown on the left hand 1792 map below. I also concluded that the brickmaker had stamped his bricks Vill instead of Mill. The finding of this auction advert by Stuart has now revealed otherwise.

So this auction notice dated 22nd June 1858 has revealed that Lot 4 was for the sale of 'One Half Share in Codnor Ville Brick Yard'. There is no name of the owner of this yard in the auction notice, it only states that "The Tennant's will show the Premises". Theadore Hickling was the owner of the land on which this brick yard had been established, so he may have been the person who was selling the half share in the yard. Research of the word Ville has revealed that this is a French word for town, thus resulting in Codnor Ville (town) being stamped in the brick above without the e.  

With the ever expanding population of Codnor in the mid 1800's, the need for more houses resulted in establishing this brickworks in the centre of a housing development to make the bricks on site, as shown on the right hand 1854 map above. In 1848 Theadore Hickling owner of this land on Codnor Common came an agreement with the Ironville Benefit Building Society (formed by William & George Jessop owners of the Butterley Co. together with William Needham) to provide building plots for these new houses & the Ironville Freehold Land Society was formed to undertake this task of planning this new estate. The map above also shows the layout of the house plots & the new streets which were named Jessop Street, Needham Street & Wright Street after the directors of the Butterley Company. It was to be the workers who came to work at collieries owned by the Butterley Co. who would live in these houses. I have to note that the Butterley Co. could have also had a say in the naming this brick yard as the Codnor Ville Brick Yard because two miles away from Codnor in 1830 the Butterley Co. had built an ironworks & a "model village" for it's workers which they had named Ironville. Hence the use of the word ville in the two names.

The brickmaker/s who made these bricks is unknown, but my best option are brothers Robert & Charles Taylor, who are recorded in Kelly's 1857 Trade Directory as brickmakers in Codnor, but no works address is given. This leads me to believe that they move to the works for this one contract. Also with the auction notice saying 'The Tennant's will show the Premises', this also points to Robert & Charles Taylor being the brick makers at this yard.
Producing bricks over a number of years for all these houses may have resulted in more brick makers working at this Yard & Stuart has provided me with this information from the 1881 Census - Thomas Allcock & his two sons are all recorded as brickmakers & living at nearby Prospect Place in Codnor. So either of these two brickmaking families could have made these bricks.

Many Thanks to Stuart for providing me with most of the information for this brick & if you wish to read more about the history of Codnor, you can do so on Stuart's website.

W. Shelton, Upper Hartshay

William Shelton of Upper Hartshay, near Ripley is listed in Kelly’s 1876 & 1881 editions. 

© Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of NLS/Ordnance Survey 1878.

1878 OS map showing the location of William's yard in Upper Hartshay. The village of Heage is to the left of Upper Hartshay & Ripley is to it's right, just off this map.

Update 13.11.16.

Photo courtesy of the Silk Mill Museum, Derby.

I originally listed this brick as being made by the Butterley Brick Co. at either of their collieries at Upper or Lower Hartshay, but with now being given the Shelton/Hartshay brick below it has revealed that more than likely William Shelton was the maker of this Hartshay brick with the lettering being the same.

Alfreton Brick Co.

The Alfreton Brick Company is listed in Kelly's 1895 edition with J.J. Simpson as secretary & offices at 51 High Street, Alfreton. The 1899 edition now sees F. Broadbent as secretary & this entry continues up to the 1916 edition. There is a name change in the 1922 edition & the works are now recorded as the Alfreton Brick & Tile Co. Mansfield Road, Alfreton. Alfreton B. & T. Co. name is repeated in the 1925 edition & the last entry in 1928. 
Finding the location of this brick works has only been found by asking around Alfreton. It was situated off Alma Street, on land which is now partly industrial & part Alfreton Town's football ground. The same site was worked by Luke Evans in 1876 & you can find this entry further down the post.  
The 1922 entry in Kelly's records the address of Alfreton B. & T. Co as Mansfield Road, but I have found no record of a brickworks on this road. Alfreton Colliery was on Meadow Lane just off Mansfield Road & there may have been a brickworks at the colliery, but there are no mining records to verify this fact, so further investigation will be needed. 

1913 O.S. map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Added 28.6.15, this 1913 O.S. map now confirms the location of this works off Alma Street & today the site is occupied by industrial units & Alfreton Town football club. I am now taking the address of 51, High Street & then Mansfield Road to be the company's office address.

Two more examples from the company found in Somercotes.

J. Bakewell & Sons

John Bakewell is first listed in White's 1857 edition as John Bakewell & Co. at Birchwood, Somercotes. Kelly's 1864 edition then records John Bakewell at Lea brooks, Somercotes, Alfreton & this entry is repeated until the 1887 edition when John is now listed as John Bakewell senior. The 1887 entry is then repeated until the 1900 edition, but with several name variations of the place where he made his bricks. These were Somercotes Brickworks, Parkcotes Brickworks & Cotes Brickworks & all these locations were the same yard in Somercotes. The earlier used yard names of Lea brooks & Birchwood were also this same yard which I have coloured yellow on the 1900 OS map below. Today we find a very large industrial site covering this area called Cotes Park in Somercotes. 

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

1900 map showing the location of John's brickworks situated on Nottingham Road, Somercotes. The road which runs at the side of the works down to Cotespark Farm is today called Cotes Park Lane & is one of the entrances into the Cotes Park Industrial site.

Kelly's 1904 edition sees another change in the entry for John. It is now John Bakewell & Sons, Lea brooks, Somercotes same as the brick that I have found. There is also a second entry in the 1904 edition for Bakewell Bros. at South Normanton, Alfreton. I am reading this as John's sons have started a second yard at nearby South Normanton. The 1908 edition entries are the same as the 1904 ones. The 1912 edition is the next big change, it only records the sons as Bakewell Bros. at South Normanton & Somercotes, Alfreton. So we can assume that John has now finished brickmaking & the company is now in the hands of his sons. The 1916, 1922 & the last entry in the 1925 edition just records the brothers as only operating the Somercotes works.

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

I believe the brickworks I have marked in yellow at the top of Ball Hill, South Normanton was owned & worked by the Bakewell Brothers between 1904 & 1912 as recorded in Kelly's Trade Directories. It may have also been the same yard which had been owned by John Gelsthorpe & Sons as recorded in Kelly's 1866 to 1900 editions & as yet no bricks have turned up stamped Gelsthorpe. To give you an indication of the location of this works, it was just behind the present day Pit Stop Cafe on Carter Lane East. The M1 motorway now runs to the left of the brickworks & the whole of this area is now covered in industrial units.
I have found from the web that the brickworks that I have marked in blue at the bottom of Ball Hill on Water Lane was owned by Samuel Jacques & he is listed in Kelly's 1904 & 1908 editions. This works may have still been in operation in 1952 & today the former brickworks site is available with planning permission to build 50 houses. Again I have found no bricks by this maker, also the dates match for this brick works to be have previously owned by John Gelsthorpe, so further investigation is needed to establish which of the two brickworks was owned by John Gelsthorpe.

Luke Evans

Luke Evans is listed as brickmaker at Alma Street, Alfreton in Kelly's 1876 edition. The 1881 to 1891 editions records Luke at Alma Street & Green Hill Lane, Alfreton, but I think the second address is his home address, because in 1804 possibly the same Evans family had established a bakery business on Green Hill Lane. Today Green Hill Lane is in the village of Leabrooks near Alfreton & the Luke Evans bakery is still there today & still belonging to the Evans family. So I inquired if they knew if the brick maker & baker were the same Luke. The reply I received, was that the family believed Luke had been a brickmaker as well. 


Finding & photographing a Pinxton brick had always eluded me, but it wasn't for the lack of trying. I must have scoured every inch of Pinxton on several occasions. It wasn't until I came across this one in a private collection that my quest had ended, but I am still on the look out for one for myself, so it can take centre stage in my display. Now on to the history of the yard.
Around 1890, the small Pinxton brickyard was situated between Pinxton No. 1 Colliery & Langton Colliery. Mr. Cotterill was the brickmaker, pressing the Pinxton name in every one of them. The firing up was very primitive & the bricks were sold for as low as 16/- (shillings) per 1000. Piece rates were also very poor. After the brickyard had closed, the site was then used for Brookhill Colliery, but now that has gone, to be replaced by an industrial site. 

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

Update 4.11.15.
I have now found the exact location of Pinxton Brickworks on this 1900 map which I have marked in yellow & is in a different location to where I had originally wrote it was, with it being on the other side of Beaufit Road.
Pinxton No. 1 Colliery was just off to the left of this map & the area which I have coloured blue became the site of Brookhill Colliery, my original location of the brickworks. 
The site of the former brickworks in recent years has been used to sort & wash coal which has been extracted out of the pit tip, which is on the other side of the M1 with the coal coming to the site via the works private road under the motorway. 

J. Lawrence

I have included this J. Lawrence brick in this Ripley post, but I have been unable to find any information about this maker or location of his works. I have now found three of these bricks on separate occasions locally & I have also photographed one in the Riddings Wall. So there's a good chance of it being made by a local maker.  


I have found two entries for Kemp in Kelly's Trade Directories. Thomas Kemp is recorded as brickmaker at Greenwich, Ripley in Kelly's 1876 edition & William Kemp is listed at Commonside, Heanor in the 1888 edition. So either of these two men could have made this brick, with me finding it at a reclamation yard at Pye Bridge, Derbyshire.

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