"Old Bricks - history at your feet"

Curiosities

This page is for bricks which are all a bit different.




This was found up a chimney in a station waiting room by Richard Symonds. The brick has a metal surround and the faint image of a steam loco on the right, as shown below..






A kiln or furnace refractory spyhole brick found at Walkden Yard NCB Workshops on closure. Photo and info by Alan Davies.



Liverpool Building Materials Co., probably made to their order. Photo by Alan Davies



On display at Bolton Museum, dated from 605 to 562 BC, reign of Nebuchadnezzar ll. Inscription states "Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, benefactor the temples of Esagil and Ezida, principal heir of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon".  Photo and info by Alan Davies.




Photo by Martyn Fretwell



Photo by courtesy of the Ian Stubbs collection. 



Arthur Brickman sent this one in.  He writes: What appears to be a handmade brick of some age, with maximum dimensions of 8 x 4 x 2 inches, and a rectangular frog with a triangle to its centre, the like of which I've never come across before. Found near to the Newcastle' to Carlisle railway, in the vicinity of recent fencing works and a trackside sculpture, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Geordie Anthem, 'Blaydon Races'. Any 'pointers' as to its origin would be greatly appreciated?



A Caledonia brick made into a money box.  Photo sent from California by Tom Schmidt.



Joseph and Jason? 1876.  Photo taken by Martyn Fretwell at the Greenfield Valley park, Flintshire

Bath Bricks

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.



Photo by Martyn Fretwell.

A London brick with a story

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.


'Handprints'

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!  


'Fused' bricks

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.


Polperro

This is a cinder brick, made from ash and tailings from a tin mine.  A sort of old breeze block!  Photo by Ian Castledine.


Obsinianite

Possibly some sort of acid container brick?  Photo courtesy of the Buckley Society.


Burma Siam railway wartime brick


Nigel Aspdin writes:  My father Captain Geoffrey Aspdin was a 5th Battalion officer.  Corporal Bennett was one of his men. My father had studied clay technology in Stoke on Trent in the mid 1930s before entering the family business of WH&J Slater Ltd, Denby, near Derby.  So not surprisingly, during his time as a POW, my father got involved in making bricks for the railway. The souvenir brick is about 2.5 x 3.5 inches. It reads:

Tamuang Thailand


 
CPL Bennett's
1/5 Sherwood Foresters
POW Singapore
1942
Thailand
1944



 Tatters


I am not sure what Tatters refers to, whether a nick-name for Cpl Bennett, or perhaps the brick work party or specific brick yard or kiln.

Nightstor




Modern heat retaining brick as used in night storage heaters.  Photo by Alan Murray Rust

Footprints




A selection of animal and human footprints.  Photo by Martyn Fretwell at Macclesfield Reclamtion Yard

Initials




Martyn Fretwell writes:  I think these are people's initials from a church rather than brick makers. Photographed at Macclesfield Reclamation yard.



Not a brick at all but but a promotional card for a theatre company. Photo by Richard Paterson.



F R Tanner, Oct 4th 1958.  Photo taken at Bursledon Brick Museum by Martyn Fretwell.

Foreign bricks
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