The Missing Link

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Brick & Tile making - Barrow Haven

the sights

The history

In the 1800’s and 1900’s there were 16 plus Brickworks along the south bank of the River Humber between New Holland Railway Station and the parish boundary of Barton on Humber, all of which there is little or no trace.  Adjacent to New Holland Station there were Brickyards but the evidence is there to suggest the Pits/Ponds were dug for clay.  O.S. Map examination shows there were around 12 Jetties built by the Brickyard owners. Still today there are some remains of these Jetties.  In addition, some Brickyards owned their Creeks which were used for Barge mooring and for loading bricks and tiles, as well as delivery of coal for the kilns. The sluices /cloughs were used to control the level of water in the pits and ponds to facilitate the clay digging.  The majority of these were built by William Foster renowned for his knowledge and ability for their construction. Hull Press highlighted his death in 1939 aged 79 years.
Digging the pits and ponds was by hand using a gouge and varied in depth between 4 and 12 feet depending on clay quality. The Brickyards produced a range of bricks, tiles, ridges and land drainage pipes some 12 inches long. The early drainage pots were “u” shaped and laid legs down. Many have been un-covered during deep ploughing and dyke cleaning. In the past grassland was often drained using the Pots.
The Process
Top soil was removed down to a suitable clay level, this was called,” bearing out” and dug during the winter months usually from October to March, it being too cold for Brick/Tile making. The best clay was used for Tiles, the remainder for Bricks etc. The actual brick/tile making usually ran from April through to September/October.
The clay is fed into the Mill and Mixer which removes weeds leaving the clay very plastic and workable.  Early Bricks/Tiles were formed by pressing the plastic clay into wooden moulds by hand, later using mechanical lever or fly type press. (Later mechanisation took over.)
The clay was then extruded through a dye and cut into Brick sizes before being barrowed to the drying sheds prior to Kiln firing. For mechanised tile making the Mill/Mixer extruded the plastic clay through a “Dole die” to form Doles leading to a measured tile. The tile machine operated by hand produced a variety of final cuts/shapes before been transferred to the drying sheds ready for Kiln firing.  Finally all products were stocked for collection, the majority pre-ordered by customers.
Article sent in by Trevor Cherry

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