Posts Tagged ‘brick’

Seed Pans

November 20, 2015

A couple of years ago we featured one seed pan on this blog. Today we look at three of them. They are all Victorian and all were made at the Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery works on Broadway. They date from the era when the Box family were in charge there.

Victorian seed pans at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian seed pans at Market Lavington Museum

Their purpose is really indicated by the name ‘seed pan’. They were for planting seeds in – the seed trays of their day.

Mostly, these days, we use rather flimsy plastic seed trays which have a short life. They are typical of today’s throw-away society.

These Victorian pans have done what they should. They have lasted a lifetime and more and whilst no longer pristine they could still do the job they were designed for.

Clearly there were different shapes, sizes and depths to suit different seeds and locations.

For those of us who like brick type products these are really lovely items.


Another Box brick

September 9, 2015

We don’t suppose everybody thinks bricks are amazing – but plenty of people do and we certainly like the right bricks at Market Lavington Museum. The right bricks should, of course, have been made at the local brickworks. The one we were given in mid-August certainly fits that bill and is interesting in shape and style as well. Its location, when found adds a little to its story too.

Semi circular brick for capping a wall

Semi circular brick for capping a wall

The brick is clearly semi-circular and is about 11 inches across the base. It is standard brick width. This was a capping brick for a wall. That 11 inch measurement means it would be wider than a double brick wall and its shape means rain that fell on it would drip off the ends and not into the wall.

It carries the maker’s name, embossed into it when made.

The brick was made by Box who had Lavington brick works for the second half of the nineteenth century

The brick was made by Box who had Lavington brick works for the second half of the nineteenth century

The brick was made by Box. William Box owned the Market Lavington brick works for most of the second half of the 19th century so we can get a rough date for this special brick.

The brick was dug up at Roundway Down Farm which is on the edge of Devizes. We know Lavington made bricks travelled but this is the first authenticated one we had that came from outside the Lavingtons.

We think this is a great item and we are delighted to have it at the museum.

H. Bros Brick

March 18, 2015

During much of the second half of the nineteenth century Edward Box owned the local brickworks but after his untimely death the business was sold to Holloway brothers, a West Lavington based family. Production at the brickworks continued much as before.

We have several examples of bricks and tiles bearing the Box mark but here we have a brick embossed with H. Bros in its rectangular and flat frog. H. Bros means, of course, Holloway Brothers.

Early 20th century brick by Holloway Brothers - made at Market Lavington

Early 20th century brick by Holloway Brothers – made at Market Lavington

This brick dates from the early years of the 20th century and its wear and tear does suggest it was rather a soft brick and that seems to have been a feature of bricks made at the Lavington works.

A bill for bricks

November 20, 2014

Bricks were made in Market Lavington for at least 200 years and were made up until the Second World War. In the twentieth century, the ownership of the brickworks had passed to the Holloway family at West Lavington. What we have here is a bill for bricks, purchased by one of the Holloway brothers. It is dated February 1924.

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

Interesting to see that 90 years ago 600 best hard bricks cost £1-19-0 (that’s £1.95 in present money). For the same amount today you might, at best, get about 4 bricks.

The billhead is interesting, partly for what is not shown. It’s 1924, a big company, but no telephone number seems to be available. Huge reliance was placed on a next day postal service.

But it is also interesting to note that hollow partition blocks were a speciality. These were blocks or bricks with a hole right through them. They have been plain versions of the plinth brick we showed earlier this month.

Most interesting, though, is the roundel at top left.

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

We were only 6 years after the end of World War One and there were many disabled men in the country following that conflict. It seems that Holloway Brothers did their bit to help such men – or at least they were part of a scheme to do so. This scheme was announced, by the King, in 1919 and actually, the roundel is topped off with a crown. This is hidden under the stapled fold on our document.



A plinth brick

November 2, 2014

Our museum at Market Lavington is now officially closed for the winter. We’ll be dismantling 2014 displays and preparing those for 2015. But if you are coming to the area and want to visit then please contact us and we’ll try to arrange it but the visit will be on an ‘as you find it’ basis.

And frequent visits with careful looking always seem to reveal something different. Take this brick, for example, which has been on display in our trades room for years, without really being noticed although it is a lovely item.

Market Lavington made plinth brick from the 1860s

Market Lavington made plinth brick from the 1860s

What a great item and here’s an end view to make the cross section clear.

How do you make a brick with a hollow section?

How do you make a brick with a hollow section?

This brick dates from the building of Market Lavington Manor in the 1860s. The brick was made by Edward Box’s company – the brickworks in Market Lavington and has the Box name several times on the underside.

The brick was made by Edward Box's company

The brick was made by Edward Box’s company

We wonder if there is a brick expert out there who could explain how a brick like this is actually made.

A lily pot

October 30, 2014

We think of Edward Box as being the man who had the brick works in Market Lavington for most of the second half of the 19th century. And that is true, but of course, it was actually the brick, tile and pottery works and it is a pot that we’ll look at today – a pot designed for growing a lily.

Lily pot made by Edward Box of Market Lavington in about 1880

Lily pot made by Edward Box of Market Lavington in about 1880

Here is the pot and we can see straight away it does have a broken rim and that broken off part is missing and may well have been lost 100 or more years ago.

Anything made by Box of Market Lavington must date from that second half of the nineteenth century and we estimate this one as from around 1880.

The image above shows it has been decorated by two horizontal lines around the pot but it also has a vertical line motif running right round the shoulder of it.

Lily pot decoration

Lily pot decoration

Not surprisingly, we can see this pot has suffered other weather related flaking in the past – but how good to have something from our brickworks that is definitely not a brick or tile.



A Brick from Devizes

February 21, 2014

Market Lavington had its own brickworks but that didn’t mean bricks weren’t imported from elsewhere. At the museum we have several bricks made outside the parish. This one is stamped with the name of Mullings of Devizes.


We know that in the latter part of the nineteenth century a Richard Mullings owned the Caen Hill brickworks in Devizes. We believe the deposit of suitable clay had been identified when the Kennet and Avon Canal was dug – and very useful it proved to the canal company. Some two million bricks were supplied, from this brickworks to line Bruce Tunnel. That’s a colossal number. If the works was able to turn out one brick every second, continuously, you’d be in the 24th day before getting two million bricks.

Now Mullings from Devizes moved out to Market Lavington, and before that Easterton. These were basket makers, involved in a slow, gentle country craft. But we do wonder if our Mullings family had anything to do with Richard the brickmaker of Devizes.

Maybe somebody out there could let us know.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy this brick, with its neatly made octagonal frog with a flat bottom.

Brick workers’ cottages

October 17, 2013

This is not the best photo in terms of sharpness, but our records of the old cottages which stood near the brickworks on Broadway are limited. It is good to have something which shows these cottages.

Brick workers' cottages on Broadway, Market Lavington

Brick workers’ cottages on Broadway, Market Lavington

These cottages, long since demolished (we saw the site they had stood on in a previous posting – click here) were occupied by the men who worked at the Lavington Brick and Tile works. They were family homes for the men and look to have been presentable buildings. We can only imagine that with the brick works closed, nobody wanted to live in them. They are a long haul from any facilities. Again, we guess they fell into a state of decay. This could have been happening when this photo was taken, probably in the 1950s. Our only other photo of one of the pairs of cottages shows them with chimney pots on the stacks.

Amongst families we know lived in these homes were the Davidge family and a branch of the Plank family.

But as ever, we’d like to know more and hope somebody out there can help us.

A seed pan

October 11, 2013

These days those of us who grow plants from seed expect to put seeds in trays made of rather flimsy plastic. Such trays are suitably shallow and have plenty of drainage holes so that it is hard to swamp the little seedlings with too much water.

But what about times past?

Our curator remembers his dad using wooden trays that greengrocers had – the kind that citrus fruits came in with the fruits each wrapped in tissue paper. But such boxes rotted away quickly.

In times even longer past, gardeners used seed pans made of clay. These were made by the local brickworks. We have a number of these seed pans at Market Lavington Museum and this is one of them.

19th century seed pan at Market Lavington Museum

19th century seed pan at Market Lavington Museum

This pan dates from the second half of the nineteenth century. It is about 9 inches square and is deeper than a modern plastic tray. If we turn it on its side we can see that it has four holes for drainage.


seed pan drainage holes

seed pan drainage holes

A prudent gardener would have covered these with large stones to make sure not too much of his compost washed away.

The chances are that this was made at the Lavington brickworks when it was owned by William Box, but we cannot be certain of this.

The Brickworks

August 31, 2013

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.

Title and authors of an article in the summer 1949 'Lavington Forum'

Title and authors of an article in the summer 1949 ‘Lavington Forum’

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.