Brick making in Stoke-on-Trent
The growth of brickmaking
Bricks were made on the spot for large building operations, for example bricks were made on the site at Trentham when the Hall was rebuilt around 1740, largely of bricks.
In the Newcastle-under-Lyme are brick making was being carried on at least by the late 17th century. It is recorded at Burslem and Fenton in the 18th century. Tunstall was also a centre for brick and tile manufacture, and in 1858 it was claimed that at The Tileries there, owned by Thomas Peake, bricks and tiles had been produced for nearly two centuries.
The Tileries (Tunstall):
In 1858 it had an estimated annual output of 1.5 million paving bricks and 700,000 ordinary bricks.
In 1841 an ovenman employed at The Tileries gave an account of the organisation of the works to a representative of a Commission looking into child employment:-
The works was made up of 8 brickyards and employed between 85 and 100 men with an unspecified number of young children. The key figure was the ovenman himself, who had under him, and paid, gangs of boys and girls. He also paid the moulder, who in turn employed one man (the temperer) and one or two boys to hand him the clay and to carry the unfired bricks to the flats to dry. Some boys were required to stay up all night at the ovens to stoke the fires, their only shelter being a small shed containing bedding straw. Oven work and clay work were done outdoors, only moulding carried on under cover. In claiming that the work was healthy, the ovenman asserted that he preferred it 'a good deal to being pent up in the pot-works'
A 1951 directory records over 30 brick and tilemakers in the Potteries, but these were probably of no great size apart from Peakes Tileries.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were four substantial works in Stoke-on-Trent:
Henry Warrington & Son at the Berry Hill brickworks.
Cannon Street Brick Co. of Hanley.
E. Hampton & Sons at the Eastwood brickworks.
Cobridge Brick & Sanitary Pipe Co. Ltd.
Wheatly Brick & Tile Co, Trent Vale, Newcastle
Wheatly & Co Ltd – Firing Bricks & Roof tiles in a Beehive Kiln 'Blue Oven'
Wheatly & Co Ltd – smoke from a Beehive Kiln
Private train and railway of the old Wheatly brickworks
taking clay from the marl hole to the works.
Photos - Ian Bailey
Metallic Tiles, Near Chesterton, Newcastle
Photos - Ian Bailey