Posts Tagged ‘brick’

Where cottages once stood

February 4, 2013

Broadway, Market Lavington was once the home of the Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery Company. That ceased production around the time of World War II and local cottages, which had once housed workers were no longer needed.

Britain was in post war austerity at the time and when rubble was needed to assist with road improvements at the Black Dog crossroads, it was acquired locally. The Broadway Cottages were demolished and the demolition materials were used to help form the foundation of a better roadway.

In 1958 a photographer – we don’t know who – recorded the scene where the cottages had been.

Site of Broadway Cottages, Market Lavington' The photo dates from 1958

Site of Broadway Cottages, Market Lavington’ The photo dates from 1958

Presumably the unknown lady visitor was standing on what had been the base of the cottages. Was she, we wonder, a former resident visiting her former home? The picture, sadly, is not of good enough quality to allow for enlargement, but maybe somebody will recognise the lady.

At least the photo was well captioned as to location and date.

Photo caption. What a shame it doesn't name the person.

Photo caption. What a shame it doesn’t name the person.

Broadway Cottages when Lavington bricks were still being made.

Broadway Cottages when Lavington bricks were still being made.

These were the cottages in earlier and happier days, clearly lived in for smoke issues from the chimneys.

We’d like to know more about these homes – their precise location for one thing. Can you help?


A Fishtail Tile

November 24, 2012

The old brick and tile works is long gone. The clay pit is filled and the whole site now has other, light industrial uses. But at Market Lavington Museum we can preserve the memory of the heyday of brick and tile making in the parish. We have a couple of the slightly fancy fishtail tiles.

Fishtail tile from the 1870s at Market Lavington Museum

This one dates from about 1870 and is clearly labelled with the brickwork owner’s name – ‘W BOX’

The tile is clearly stamped W BOX. William Box owned the brickworks

With a little digital jiggery-pokery we can get some idea of what these bricks might have looked like when laid together.

The tiles could have looked like this when hung.

It has been said of Christopher Wren, in St Paul’s Cathedral, ‘if you seek his momument, look around you’. The same could be said for the brick masters of Market Lavington. And you don’t have to look far from the museum to find fishtail tiles. Indeed, the nearest building, now The Old School, is covered in them.

A part of Market Lavington Old School roof – it is covered with fishtail tiles.

We can see that the tiler had a course with a triangular, rather than rounded tail, to make a pattern across the roof.

Holloway’s brick delivery

October 18, 2012

Today we are looking at a photo of a traction engine which was, undoubtedly, based in Market Lavington.

Box Patent traction engine belonging to Market Lavington Brick and Pottery Works

The engine belonged to  The Market Lavington Brick and Pottery Works when it was owned by Holloway Brothers.

Front end of the engine – ownership made clear

We have no accurate date and do not know the location.

We do know that the steersman is Charlie Sheppard.

Charlie Sheppard – the steersman on the engine

We do not know the other two men in the picture.

The engine is a Box Patent engine. William Box, who designed this engine was born in Devizes in about 1844. When his father, William Box senior took the Lavington brickworks, the younger William became a Market Lavington resident. Like many in the family he was an engineer and he was concerned at the number of bricks broken because of the rough haulage by traction engines.  Part of his aim, in devizing a different transmission system for traction engines was to reduce such breakages. By the time the patent was issued, William had his own brickworks at Uffington.

Patent awarded to William Box – a former Market Lavington man

As we see, the patent was granted in 1876. Here’s the summary of the ideas.

Preamble to the patent

We imagine the idea was not a great success. Very few Box patent engines were built.

The Disputed Balustrade

September 23, 2012

Market Lavington Manor was built in the 1860s. Edward Pleydell Bouverie had decided on a grandiose building based on a Tudor style brick building. The ornamentation was lavish. No expense was spared in making sure the new Manor House was by far the best dwelling in the parish. Amongst the design features was a balustrade around the terrace just outside the house. This attractive little wall was designed and provided by Edward Box who had taken Market Lavington Brick Works in 1859. It was essentially brick, made in moulds much as ordinary bricks were. Here we see the balustrade surrounding the manor.

An undated photo of Market Lavington Manor shows the balustrade around the terrace

Another photo shows the balustrade after the snow storm of 1908.

Market Lavington Manor terrace and balustrade after the snow of April 28th 1908

But back to the 1860s. Edward Box looked at his work and he was pleased. In fact he was so pleased he decided he’d have an identical balustrade around the house he was building for himself. His house, sometimes called Mowbray House, is close to the old brickworks on Broadway, Market Lavington.

Edward Pleydell Bouverie was incensed. He was obviously of the opinion that he alone had the right to this particular and very stylish balustrade. He demanded that Box remove it from his house. This did not happen. Bouverie was a lawyer and he took Box to court over  what was no more than a garden wall. Bouverie lost.

So here is the balustrade at the brick master’s house. This picture dates from the 1920s and may feature members of the George family.

The identical balustrade built by Edward Box at his own home at Broadwayt, Market Lavington

Hacked off

September 18, 2012

In the brick making business hacks were stands where freshly made bricks could be stacked and dried before firing. Given the ability for the British weather to throw down rain, covers were needed to protect the bricks. Around a brickworks there were what looked like long low sheds with sections of hinged roof.  They’d have just been an unexceptional part of the countryside.

The Market Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery Works, at Broadway in Market Lavington had hacks. A photo was taken in the 1920s which preserves their memory.

Hacks – stands for brick drying at the Market Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery Works in the 1920s

This was in the time when Holloway Brothers owned and operated the brickworks. It was a time when manual labour was still the order of the day. A website called ‘Rick’s Bricks’ describes the five main processes in brickmaking. The clay and formed bricks were handled and moved from place to place many times before leaving the works for use. First, the clay was dug and then moved to a mill which ensured an even texture. The clay then went to the moulding shed where skilled workers made the brick shapes. The bricks were moved to an initial drying space for two days. Then they were moved to the hacks. About two weeks later they’d have been moved again – to be fired. The bricks could now be allowed to cool and be removed from the kiln. It was a truly labour intensive business.

Building the Viaduct – a photo by Alf Burgess.

January 21, 2012

The Market Lavington railway line was a late bit of railway building – being completed in 1900 and opened for passenger trains on 1st October of that year. We have already seen that local photographer, Alf Burgess, was able to record the building of the line and here we see work in hand on the Lavington viaduct which crosses the little stream that divides West from Market Lavington.

Building Lavington Viaduct - a photo by Alf Burgess

We can see that the viaduct is brick built. This provided much income for the local brickworks.

Today we’ll look at the back of the photo for Mr Burgess had pasted an advert onto it.

Burgess of Market Lavington advert on the back of the photo

The simplicity of a late Victorian ad is quite charming. There are no hidden messages suggesting you’ll succeed better in life by spending a bit more at Burgess of High Street, Market Lavington. Instead there is basic information about some services that could be offered.

So who was Alf Burgess?

Alfred was born in Coulston, a few miles to the west of Market Lavington in about 1860. His father, William was a farm labourer. At the time of the 1861 census young Alfred was just 11 months old – the youngest in a line of children which William and wife Mary had had. The oldest was already 17.

Alfred was still in Coulston in 1871. William and Mary had had just one more child who was now aged 8.

But in 1881 Alfred was in London, working as a footman for Lady MacNaughton in Eaton Square, Westminster. Perhaps it was in London that he decided on his future trade.

By 1886, Alfred was back in Wiltshire for it was in that year that he set up his photographic studio in Market Lavington. And the next year, 1887, he married Marion Grey who originally came from Scotland, possibly the Paisley area of Glasgow.

Alfred did not confine his photography to studio shots. He also took local scenes and made and sold them as postcards.

In 1891 at the time of the census Alfred and family lived on High Street, Market Lavington. Apart from wife, Marion, two youngsters had been born, Robert was two and George was aged one.

The census in 1901 shows an increased family of Robert, Alfred (George?), John, Hugh, Allen and Charles.

Alf and Marion Burgess outside their Market Lavington shop

Sadly, the date given on this photo is wrong, for Alfred died in 1918. Wife, Marion, joined him in Market Lavington churchyard in 1935.

A named brick

December 7, 2011

Market Lavington bricks are fairly soft in structure and easy to mark. One building in Market Lavington (it is on private land and so not identified here) has suffered the attack of people who wished to leave their mark for more than 250 years. This brick, actually in the dark interior of the building, appears to have been signed by I Legg in 1799.

Photo of a brick inscribed I Legg 1799. The brick is still part of a Market Lavington Building

A search of Market Lavington records for that time reveals no I Legg, but there was a John Legg and he was something of a scholar and may well have used the spelling Ionnas at times. Of course, this is only a theory, but John was alive and lived in market Lavington in 1799. He was a naturalist, amongst the first to realise that birds migrated. We have looked at John before on these pages (click here).

It’s an intriguing thought that the very reclusive John may have wiled away some time in this little hideaway with its commanding views over the countryside.

Building The Alban Estate

November 21, 2011

Time was when houses were fairly individual although, of course, semi-detached houses have always been like one another and terraced houses, inevitably, have much in common with their neighbours. But in Market Lavington, The Alban Estate was the first larger scale development of similar houses. We have looked at aspects of these houses, along The Spring and Park Road, before (click here). Today we bring you a photo of the houses under construction – believed to be in 1926.

George Bishop's men build The Alban Estate, Market Lavington in 1926

The houses were built, speculatively, by George Bishop, a local builder and his employees. Many of these are shown in the photo.

Brickies, ladder and scaffolding

Here are some of the brickies, one with a hod of bricks as he climbs up the ladder. This leans against the scaffolding – hefty wooden poles, held together by roping. Times have certainly changed in the UK scaffolding business.

George Bishop himself lived on Church Street in 1926 – just along the road from these new houses.

A Robert Oram signed tile

August 8, 2011

At Market Lavington Museum we have a tile signed and dated by Rbt Oram. That is, of course, Robert Oram.

A tile from the 1870s, signed by Robert Oram of Market Lavington

The inscription on the tile starts with V R – Victoria Regina.  Robert was clearly a loyal and patriotic subject who commemorated his queen and who, later, was to build Jubilee Cottage on Northbrook.

A loyal and patriotic V R on the tile

The inscription continues with the name, Robert Oram and then gives his trade – bricklayer and tiler – and then a year. We are not 100% certain of the year but it was certainly in the decade of the 1870s – possibly 1878 or 1872.

The inscription reads, 'Robert Oram Bricklayer And Tiler 1878'. The tile can be found at Market Lavington Museum

Robert Oram, the son of William and Ann may well have been baptised on 6th June 1843.

In 1851 Robert, aged 7 lived with his parents, William and Ann on Northbrook, Market Lavington. William, was a bricklayer born in Market Lavington. His wife, Ann, was also from Market Lavington. There were no other children at home.

In 1861 Robert aged 17 was still with his parents on Northbrook, Market Lavington. Robert, like his father, was a bricklayer.

Robert Oram married Priscilla Smith on 17th September 1866 at little Cheverell. The spelling of Priscilla varies. On the Market Lavington grave it reads Pricillia

In 1871 Robert and Priscilia lived at number 2 Stobbarts road in Market Lavington. Robert was a bricklayer aged. His wife was 28 and hailed from Little Cheverell, as did their two children, William aged 3 and Francis aged 1. The household was completed by Frank Wheeler, a 22 year old groom who was a boarder from Market Lavington.

In 1881 Robert and Pricilla lived on Northbrook, Market Lavington. Robert, aged 37 was an estate bricklayer. Pricilla was 39. The children were William (13), an apprentice painter and Francis (11) who, like their mother, were born in Cheverell Parva or Little Cheverell, followed by Market Lavington born Jesse (8), Henry (5) and a sole daughter, Annie aged 2. There was also a boarder, 32 year old Frank Wheeler, a groom from Market Lavington.

In 1891 Robert and Priscilla lived on Northbrook, (almost certainly Jubilee Cottage) Market Lavington with their family. Robert was a bricklayer. Of the children at home, William, 23, was a painter and Jesse, 18, (now given as born little Cheverell) was an apprentice wheelwright.  Henry, 15, was a bricklayer’s labourer and Annie, 12, was a dressmaker’s apprentice. The youngest two children were Herbert, 9, and Edith aged 5. Frank Wheeler is still with the household and now called a cousin.

In 1901 Robert, the bricklayer and Priscilla were still living on Northbrook, Market Lavington. There were just the three youngest children at home – Annie  a dressmaker, Herbert a bricklayer and Edith.

Robert died in 1915.

The Brick Works in 1947 or 1948

July 29, 2011

Today we are looking at a photo that was taken by Geraldine George. We have met this young lady before, apparently taking a ride in an old clay truck at the brick works.

This time, Geraldine was riding by the brickworks on a legitimate train – one operated by the Great Western Railway. She decided to take a photo of the former brick and tile works where her grandfather had once been manager.

Market Lavington Brickworks - a photo taken by Geraldine George in about 1947.

The works are clearly in the process of demolition.

A zoom in shows buildings under demolition.

Youngsters might be baffled by the strange  shadow which stretches across the photo.

Shadow of the exhaust from the steam locomotive pulling the train from which the photo was taken.

This was a shadow of the exhaust – mostly spent steam, from the loco hauling the train.

Some buildings are still in use for industrial purposes at the old brickworks site, but the quarry has been filled and the area is now used as a trading estate.