Bath Bricks are not made in Bath neither are they bricks!
They were actually made in Bridgwater. It started in about
1850 when it was discovered that silt from the river bank was
good for cleaning metal. Square pens were constructed on
the river bank to collect the silt and slime. The bricks
were fired at a lower temperature than building bricks, 500 to
600 degrees c., the material would remain soft at this
temperature. They were patented by John Browne in 1827 and
sold all over the world. It could be used as a block or
scraped and the powder used on a wet cloth for cleaning.
The Bath Brick measures approx. 6"x3"x2" and some companies
would have their own name stamped on them. Thanks to John
Biggs for the photos and information.
Steve Williams writes: I am attaching a brick photograph for your collection. It doesn't look very exciting and the writing's not too clear. It is in a wall in London behind Sadlers Wells Theatre in an alley way called Myddleton Passage. At the end of the 19th century this alley must have been a hang-out for scalliwags and thus a dangerous place to walk. Hence, a policeman was posted every night to guard its entrance. What a boring shift! To while away the night, the various night-shift Coppers carved their Number and Date on the face of the wall at about shoulder height. This part of the wall has quite a collection; but the lettering on most is hard to decipher. See if you can tell what this one says - I think it says "41C 1895". You won't see this in a Guide Book - so if you get to London, take the Number 19 bus to Sadlers Wells. Myddleton Passage runs from the bus stop, up by the southwest side of the Theatre into Myddleton Square.
Lawrence Skuse writes: Given the nature of clay, I have always wanted to find a brick with imprints of the brick worker, and recently, I found one. The brick itself is unremarkable, a plain red brick I believe to be 19th Century and probably fly tipped by a builder; there are many hundreds lying around in Gwent and, obviously, many other, areas. This example however bears on one face, three finger prints and on the other the corresponding thumb print of the worker who has, apparently, carelessly handled the moulded brick; it still passed quality control however!
Quite often when a brick firing didn't go according to plan the partly baked bricks became fused together as seen here. Often found in close proximity to the kiln. Photo by Ian C.
A brass brick stamp from Emlyn Colliery near Ammanford.
This strange construction has been built on the foreshore at New Ferry, Wirral from abandoned bricks.
Derek Barker spotted this print of a brickmakers hob nail boot on a wall in Yorkshire.
This is a cinder brick, made from ash and tailings from a tin mine. A sort of old breeze block! Photo by Ian Castledine.
Possibly some sort of acid container brick? Photo courtesy of the Buckley Society.