Brick Enthusiast Reports on Cawarden Stock

Cawarden Reclamation Yard, Rugeley, Staffs.

If you are after bricks this is the place to come, whether you are after bricks for that extension or a collector like me, there are possibly millions of bricks to search through here. Bricks of all kinds were stacked in all directions & I did not know which way to go next, in the end I photographed 63 bricks that day.

The bricks in this post covers the west of the country from Stoke in the north, to Bristol in the south. I have already posted the bricks found from the East Midlands on my other site & you can see those by clicking on this link.

So onto the bricks found that day. This first one Northcot, I photographed by chance as it was not one that was in the yard, but had been brought in by some builders to Cawarden to find more bricks to match to it, so this one was a Brucie bonus!

Northcot Brick Company (North Cotswold) was started in 1925 by Spencer Churchill & was taken over in 1962 by the Brown family. Michael Brown who is the second generation of the Brown family to run the company is the current Managing Director. The brickworks on Station Road, Blockley, Gloucestershire still uses the adjacent Wellacre quarry to produce their traditional hand made & wire cut bricks. Battersea Power Station was built using Northcot bricks & bricks from the company will be used again when a Malaysian company refurbishes the Power Station.

Two excellent videos of the works can be seen at this link below, one of the tour of the works & one by CNN.

Rufford & Co. Hungary Hill, Stourbridge, started in 1802 producing fire bricks & fire clay products, which was later followed by the opening of a second larger works to produce glazed bricks & porcelain baths. The company owned four coal & clay pits to meet the demand to produce it's wares & employed 300 workers at it's peak of production. Francis junior Rufford is recorded at Stepping Stones,Stourbridge as the owner of the works in Pigot's 1829 Directory, which is followed by many entries in Kelly's Trade Directory. The company is recorded as F. T. Rufford in Kelly's 1860 & 1872 editions, then in 1876 as Rufford & Co. with Limited being added in the 1900 edition.  Stamper Mill replaces Hungary Hill as the address in the 1908 edition. After 134 years of producing it's wares the company went into voluntary liquidation in 1936, due to the lack of good quality clay reserves.

This Pressard brick & the Utopia red brick below were both made by the Aldridge Brick & Tile Company, Brickyard Road, Aldridge, Walsall. I have also found blue bricks stamped Utopia which were known for their extreme hardness & were used in the construction of air raid shelters. The company is recorded as starting in 1874 & they produced three types of brick, blue, engineering & hand mades. The company is first recorded in Kelly's 1892 edition as the Aldridge Colliery Co. Ltd. & in the 1896 edition William Fredrick Clark is listed as Secretary. William is then recorded as General Manager in the 1900 edition, followed by the 1912 edition to 1928 edition listing him as Managing Director. The 1932 edition now records the company as the Aldridge Brick, Tile & Coal Co. Ltd with William Fredrick Clark as Managing Director. The last available directory in 1940 just records the works new name. The Company closed in 1965 when the brickworks was taken over by Ibstock.

This is a wall copping of which many examples can be found in the Hanley area of Stoke on Trent. It was made by Woolliscroft Tiles, which was founded by George Woolliscroft (1825 -1906) & he is listed in a 1865 Trade Directory as beer seller / brick & tile manufacturer at the Eagle & Child Inn, Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme. The next directory entry in 1868, records George as builder, manufacturer of blue bricks, chimney tops, drain pipes, roofing ridges & pressed floor tiles at Chesterton. Kelly's 1876 edition now records the company as George Woolliscroft & Son at Chesterton same as this brick. The 1880 edition of Kelly's records that the company has opened another works, Canal Tileries at Etruria in Stoke, with further expansion in 1884 & 1889 adding the Patent Tile Works, Hanley & the Joiners Square Works. This is followed by the works on Melville Street, Hanley in 1904. From 1910 the company concentrated on producing floor tiles only at it's Canal Tileries & Melville Street works, this being recorded in several editions of Kelly's Directory up to the last available directory in 1940. The Melville Street Works continued to produced tiles up to the year 2000 when Pilkington Tiles took over the Company & this works was closed. 

Link to photos & maps of the Melville Street Works:

The Haunchwood Brick Co. was established in 1875 in Nuneaton by the partnership of George Fowler, William Mattby & John W. Fowler. 1878 sees the Company become a Limited Company. There were three brickworks, No.1 Yard was on Haunchwood Road, Stockingford, No.2 Yard was on Hall End Road & No.3 Yard was on Bermuda Road. In 1896 James Knox was employed as Works Manager & later on with the help of some partners he became the owner of the Company.

Haunchwood Brick Co. is recorded in Kelly's 1876 edition at Stockingford, Nuneaton, followed by the 1880 edition recording the Company as Haunchwood Brick & Tile. The 1888 edition records James Knox as Managing Director. The 1900 edition now lists new works at Heath End & Griff, Chilvers Coton as well as Stockingford. The Company carries on to listed in Kelly's until the last available directory in 1940. 

In 1968 Haunchwood merged with G.W. Lewis Tileries forming Haunchwood Lewis Brick & Tile Company, however this new company did not last long with it going into voluntary liquidation in 1973. Haunchwood's No.1 Works closed in 1970 with the works being demolished the following year & is now Whittleford Country Park, the site being transformed by the local & county councils. No.2 works was demolished in 1970/72 is now an housing estate & the No.3 Works closed in 1969.

You can read more detail about the company at this link on page 11:

This excellent link contains many photos of the works & is about a third way down this very long post:

This link contains an ariel photograph & a map of the No. 1 Works before it was transformed into a Country Park. If you click on the images, they are enlarged:

The Lilleshall Company which was mainly an engineering company, was founded in 1802 by the Marquess of Stafford with four local capitalists, John Bishton the elder, James Birch, John Onions & William Phillips at Oakgates, Shropshire. The company were also coal & iron merchants, iron founders & steel producers. The company opened it's mechanised Donnington Wood Brickworks on Pain's Lane, Lilleshall in 1876. By 1908 the company was producing 3 to 4 million high quality bricks per year, but the company declined during the 1960's & the works closed in 1972. Glazed bricks, like the example above were in production in 1961.
A photo of the works can be seen at this link:

The Cattybrook Brickworks came about when Charles Richardson an engineer working for the Bristol & South Wales Railway, realised the potential of the local clay when he was visiting the excavations for the Patchway Tunnel. So in 1865 Charles leased a few acres of land at Cattybrook to produce engineering bricks. In 1871 he went into partnership with Ernest Street & Edward Grover, creating the Cattybrook Brick Company Ltd. in 1877. It is reported that Charles's company made 30 million engineering bricks to line the Severn Tunnel in 1872. Portishead Power Station, Fry's factory at Keynsham & Imperial Tobacco at Bristol all used Charles's bricks in the construction of their buildings. 

The Cattybrook Brick Works at Almondsbury, Bristol is recorded in Kelly's 1897 edition with E.E. Street as Manager & in 1900 the company is now run by Frank Richardson, employing 300 workers. In Kelly's 1906 Directory there is the addition of another brick works at Shortwood, Bristol. Then in Kelly's 1914 entry, Mr E. Gwynne Vevers is recorded as Managing Director, with Mr. Thomas Walker recorded as Manager of the two brickworks. The company was taken over by Ibstock in 1969 & by 1973 the company was fully absorbed into Ibstock Building Products Ltd. & the Cattybrook name was lost. Ibstock is still making bricks there today, at it's Over Lane Works.

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