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Brickmaking

Courtesy of the late Colin Bryant's Collection by kind permission of Rushden Museum
clay pit clay pit & wind pump
Two views of the deep clay pit and wind pump - it was filled in by Messrs Braybrooks in the 1960s

Sample of Rushden Brick & Tile Company brick Sample of a Rushden bick
Samples of the bricks

John Clark and his daughter atop the last brick kiln at the brickworks

The clay type used for making bricks in Rushden came from the upper lias strata. In the 1851 Census Jeremiah Litchfield and Thomas Hardwick were recroded as brickmakers. From 1864 to about 1884 Robert Octavius Butcher was operating a small brick yard with a single kiln. In the trade directories he is recorded as a grocer and brickmaker.

By 1894 the large works of Rushden Brick & Tile Company, founded by John Clark, were using a continuous kiln. The clay was taken from a pit to the south of the works and the whole site was served by a tramway system. The site was 116 acres and had a sand pit to the east. During the 1880's and 1890's they were working at full capacity to keep the builders supplied as several new streets were being built.

Wellingborough News, 8th April 1892, transcribed by Kay Collins

WANTED, half-a-dozen Slop Brickmakers.—Apply to E. WILLIAMSON,
Finedon-road, Wellingborough; or Bedford-road, Rushden.


Rushden Brick & Tile Co location, shown on an Ordnance Survey map of 1927
Rushden Brickworks and tramway, shown on a map of 1927
John Clark lived at Heatherbreea House

Extract from an article in the Rushden Echo - 15th June 1900

The lightning did serious damage to the works of the Rushden Brick and Tile Co. The lightning struck a Woolf drier which had lately been erected and completely destroyed it. The office near was also struck, and the roof was taken completely off the building, leaving nothing but the bare walls. Serious injury was also done to the engine-house. The attention of the foreman, Mr. A. Clarke, was called to the matter, and upon examination it was thought that the lightning struck two of the iron ropes that pull the cars up from the clay pits. The damage is estimated at about £300, and is covered by insurance. A number of men have been thrown out of work through the occurrence, and it will probably be some weeks before the matter is put right.


1933 letterhead
A 1933 letterhead

Directors were: F W Beedle, T H Partridge, Chas E Gillot


aerial view of the site of the new factory
Aerial View of the first phase of the Cox & Wright site. Situated at the junction of the old A45 and Wellingborough Road and showing the lake where sand had been extracted.
The pit was filled in in the 1960s by Messrs. Braybrook hauliers.
Centre of the picture is Nene Valley Caravan works. c1958

click here to read about another fire in 1908

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