Posts Tagged ‘brickworks’

Brickworks memories by Mrs Elisha written 1977

September 19, 2016

Good memories are a real source of knowledge and understanding. Here we have memories written down by Mrs Elisha in about 1977. Her memories date back and mention of the Central Flying School probably dates that to the time of World War One. Mrs Elisha, or Helena May Potter as she was, was born in 1903 and became the infant teacher at Market Lavington School in the 1920s. Even in 1977 she was still doing bits of supply teaching at the school – by then St Barnabas School on Drove Lane. These memories are about the brickworks and clearly are a response to a request for information which came from Peggy Gye.

Here’s an extract and below we have an abbreviated transcript.

Brickworks memories by Mrs Elisha

Brickworks memories by Mrs Elisha

Mr Merritt, my neighbour in Park Road, tells me you are interested in the history of Lavington Brick and Tile works. I can remember an amount having lived here for 74 years. It was owned by a Thomas Holloway of London, his country home being the Manor House, West Lavington. A good standard of clay was worked from there. The workers were almost on slave labour.

The manager was Mr George who lived in the house there with his wife and six children. There were also five cottages belonging there which housed workers who were always there to see to the kilns. Mr Grey with wife and son, Mr and Mrs Davidge with 3 boys and 2 girls, Mr and Mrs Plank with 3 boys and 3 girls. These cottages had 2 bedrooms and were in poor condition.

Hundreds of bricks were made there – handmade ones too. A big traction engine driven by Mr G Brown of West Lavington hauled 3 big trailer loads. Every other day for a long time the engine hauled its 3 loads of bricks to Upavon which was then called Upavon Central Flying School. The buildings can be plainly seen built with these bricks. Additions have been made. The engine was powerful but often had to do a shuttle service on steep hills returning to the village about 6pm ready to use next day for loading.

Fancy flower pots were made there and a few remain in the village.

None of the old workers are alive today. G Davidge, 70+, of one of the cottages lives at Spin Hill and Bertha Plank (Baker), 80+ lives at Parsonage Lane.


The brickworks balustrade

November 29, 2015

The balustrade at the front of the old brickworks has featured before on this blog but here we have a particularly fine photo of it.

Sylvia at the brickworks - clearly showing the balustrade.

Sylvia at the brickworks – clearly showing the balustrade.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a date but the back of the photo tells us that the little girl was called Sylvia.

The balustrade is the main focus here. This had been designed by Mr Box, when he owned the brickworks, for use at Market Lavington Manor, built in the 1860s. There is a possibility that a dispute arose between Box and Pleydell Bouverie – who was having the Manor built and it is possible that Mr Box was not properly paid for the Manor’s balustrade.

Anyway, he decided to use the same pattern and make a similar balustrade for his own house, by the brickworks on Broadway.

Pleydell Bouverie was incensed by this. He claimed that a promise had been made that this pattern would only be used at his grand Manor House. Box was ‘invited’ to remove the balustrade from around the brickworks. Box refused.

The result was a court case which found in favour of Mr Box who thus kept the balustrade.

Sad to say, it is no longer there. But photos keep its memory alive.

Mary Davidge and Louisa Hibberd

October 18, 2015

We don’t need a reason for showing this charming photo of a couple of ladies enjoying the sunshine. But the photo was taken at 21 Spin Hill in Market Lavington despite the somewhat seaside look of deck chairs and a smallish spade. And Mary was a Market Lavington lady. Both ladies seem to have borrowed hats from the men.

Mary Davidge and Louisa Hibberd in Market Lavington - possibly 1920s

Mary Davidge and Louisa Hibberd in Market Lavington – possibly 1920s

Mary Davidge was a Hibberd by her West Lavington birth but she married Edward Davidge in 1888 and at some point he got a job at the brickworks and the Davidge family moved into one of the Brickworks Cottages at Broadway.

Louisa Hibberd may have been a sister of Mary’s or possibly a sister in law. We really haven’t located who she was.

Neither do we have a date for the picture but we’d guess at 1920s.

Any further information would be gratefully received.

Tom George

September 26, 2015

At the time of writing we think Tom George may be the oldest surviving person who was born in Market Lavington.

Tom was born in the spring of 1920. His parents were Albert George and his wife Florence (née Ailes). Neither of Tom’s parents were local people. They moved to Market Lavington from the London area when Albert got the job of manager at the brickworks sometime between 1907 and 1910.

We were recently given a photo of Tom George in the garden at the brick manager’s house.

Tom George in the garden of the brickworks house in 1927

Tom George in the garden of the brickworks house in 1927

So there we have Tom, complete with a cricket bat which looks to be a few sizes too big for him.


The back of the photo is captioned.


So we have a date of 1927 when Tom would have been seven years old.

Tom still lives fairly locally and we hope to record an oral history with him.

A brickyard hut

September 22, 2015

There were all sorts of buildings at the brick works, down on Broadway. Today we look at one of them which, when the photo was taken, began to look like a bit of a tumbledown hut. But it was a hut with history.

The Aerodrome Hut at Market Lavington Brick Yard in 1958. Prior to 1922 this had been at the Stonehenge Aerodrome

The Aerodrome Hut at Market Lavington Brick Yard in 1958. Prior to 1922 this had been at the Stonehenge Aerodrome

This hut was known as ‘The Aerodrome Hut’. This may seem an unlikely name.

It was acquired, by the brickworks in 1922. It had been (perhaps) an aeroplane hangar at the Stonehenge airfield. The photo itself dates from 1958 which is long after the brickworks closed.

Although the back of the photograph says this was a hangar, it looks rather small. Is there anybody out there who can tell us any more about original uses for the hut or, indeed, what our own local brickworks used it for?

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.



The Brickworks in 1948

March 22, 2014

This photo is said to have been taken soon after the brickworks closed in 1948. There is some dispute about when production actually stopped. There is evidence that it was closed by government decree near the start of World War Two but perhaps the winding up of the company took place after the war ended. People in their 80s remember it in operation. One such lady recalls being allowed to operate the wire cutters that produced brick shapes from the clay.

This photo is definitely a reminder of times long gone for our older residents.

Market Lavington brickworks in 1948

Market Lavington brickworks in 1948

This must have been taken from somewhere slightly to the west of the old brickworks and it shows the brickmaster’s house, roughly in the centre.


The brickmaster's house still stands and is occupied

The brickmaster’s house still stands and is occupied

Further to the left there is a chimney which reminds us that the brick company occupied both sides of the road at Broadway.


There's no sign of any brickworks across the road now but in 1948 a chimney was there.

There’s no sign of any brickworks across the road now but in 1948 a chimney was there.

All remnants of the old brickyard are now on the southern side of the road.

One of those ‘remnants’ is the main brickworks building which still exists as a part of the ATAC analyser business.

The main brickworks building is now occupied by the ATAC company

The main brickworks building is now occupied by the ATAC company

Brick making may have gone but it is good to report that industry still flourishes in the Broadway area of the parish.

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.