Today we return to that wonderful Lavington Forum magazine from 1949 and feature an article about Lavington brickworks written by two Michaels – Baker and Sainsbury.
Now a transcription
On Tuesday 3rd of May 1949 we paid a visit to the Market Lavington Brickworks where we were shown, by Mr George the manager, the processes involved in brick making.
The clay is dug out by hand and heaped up to weather. After about three weeks of weathering it is then ready for moving into the brick making machine and is loaded onto a truck which is pushed by hand along rails to a turntable at the factory end of the pit. From here it is hauled up the steep slope by a cable pulled by an electric motor.
In the factory the clay is tipped from the truck to a hopper where it is ground, damped down, and then thoroughly mixed. The screw motion in this hopper forces the mixture slowly out to the presses and guillotine, a wire knife which cuts the clay into ten bricks at a time.
The bricks at this stage are called green bricks and have to stand for about two weeks to weather before being placed in the kilns for baking. The kilns take about three days to heat up to the required temperature of 1000 degrees Centigrade.
Many types of bricks are made by hand at this factory, the black Kimmeridge clay being particularly suited to high class brickmaking.
Some interesting facts about the factory in the past were told by Mr George. For example, he said he had recently found an old bill for some time in 1840 when the brickworks was an iron foundry. This bill was for’ repairing a roof of the foundry – 1 man, 1 boy for half a day, 1 hod of mortar, 2/6d’. He also said that the early brick workers at the factory got 15/- for a six day week – that is 2½d an hour.
Small coal used for firing the kiln was 3/6d per ton delivered to Devizes.
Mr George told us that the best brick is not the waterproof brick but that which can absorb some moisture and give it out again, or, as Mr George called it – can ‘breathe’.
During our visit we also found a number of interesting fossils, some shaped like, and as large as a cucumber, and some like bones – but we have not yet found out what fossils they are.
And now the drawings that accompanied the article.