At one time there were 25 brickworks in and around Buckley in
Flintshire, North Wales. Most of them stretched in an arc
through the north end of the town and all were served, or
connected by tramway, to the Buckley Railway. This
provided a vital transport link, in particular to Connah's Quay
and its port. This export trade led to the introduction of
a unique form of transport - the shipping box. This was a
narrow gauge vehicle with small wheels built to carry
bricks. The wagons were run onto special standard gauge
vehicles at the nearest railhead or private siding and on
arriving at Connah's Quay were unloaded from the transporter
wagon and placed directly into the holds of waiting ships.
Subsequently the empty shipping boxes were returned from the
customer and the cycle started again. The Buckley Society
is an active industrial history group specialising in the
history of the Buckley brickworks.
Made at Knowle Lane brickworks. One of
Buckley's earlier brickworks, having been established in the
1790's. Richard Ashton operated Knowl Lane Brickworks off
Church Road Buckley between March 1841 and his death in March
1867. The site is now a housing estate. If you look on Google
Earth 'Coniston Drive' CH7 3LA in Buckley is
roughly where the brickworks stood. Upon the owners death
Ashton's was leased by his widow to two brothers
Frederick and Richard Prince who continued production there
still trading under the company name. Presumably their products
would have carried the Ashton's stamp after his death. Frederick
had been a Manager at the works
for Richard Ashton, it ceased trading in 1902.
Buckley Brick & Tile Co. Ltd was active from 1865 to 1963
The Metalline brand was registered in 1885.
Photographed on the seashore at Crosby, Merseyside.
Found near Wrexham, B.H.B is Brook Hill Blue.
A late starter by Buckley standards, the works were opened in 1911 by Messrs Jones & Lamb. It was later purchased by Castle Firebrick Co. and closed in 1959.
Buckley Junction brickworks was established by John Jones and
Henry Lamb in 1911 when they took on a lease of the site and set
about working the clay. In 1919 Frederick Phelp Jones acquired
the business and renamed it the Buckley Junction Metallic Brick
Co Ltd. The company used the trade marks 'Jacobean' and 'City'
for some of their facing brick products. In 1956 after the
company became bankrupt the works were acquired by the Castle
Firebrick Co, but this only lasted for three years before
complete closure. Photo and information by David Kitching.
The original Castle Brickworks was established by William
Malcolmson and George Alletson in 1866 with the Castle Firebrick
and Coal Company being formed in 1875. In August 1925 the
company put an additional new works into production at the
former Elm Colliery site. This works concentrated exclusively on
the production of building bricks and finally closed in August
1970 as investment in new plant was necessary and demand for
bricks had been declining for some years. In its later
years it was owned by John Summers & sons.
Jonathan Catherall (1689-1761) played an important part in the development of the industry. Catherall and Company survived in Buckley until the late 19th century, moving increasingly into brick and tile manufacture.
August 2011: A fisherman in Batticaloa, on the east coast
of Sri Lanka, has just reported dredging an Adamantine brick up
in his nets! June 2012: More
Adamantine bricks found off Sri Lanka. There is a
copy of an old Davisons catalogue here.
Davison's specialised in refractory and acid resistant bricks. Charles Davison's Ewloe Barn Brick and Tile Works and Old Ewloe works was active from 1933 to 1951, and was later merged with General Refractories Ltd, and then taken over by the firm of G. R. Stein Ltd. The site closed in 1967.
Gordon Hull found the above example during the demolition of
buildings at Harehope Quarry and the Fluorspar Washing Plant at
Frosterly in Weardale, County Durham.
A 'Hysilin' brick stamp on display in Buckley
Photos by courtesy of the Richard Symonds collection.
A 'Rotary' block made at Davison's for use in cement kilns. It is slightly curved in shape to line the kiln. Photo by courtesy of the Buckley Society.
Photos by courtesy of the Buckley Society. Paul Davies of the socity writes: Obsidianite bricks got their name, I am told by Ron Millward the 96 year old former Office Manager at Davison's, from Obsidian which is a term for molten lava which has set solid and would withstand exposure to most acids. It didn't like exposure to fluorine gas though. Ron tells me they were used a lot by cement manufacturers to line the tops of chimneys where acid formed and eroded traditional bricks. When I was cleaning the moss etc. from it I used a wire brush briefly and sparks were flying from it!
Wikipedia definition - Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth.
Photo by Iain Taylor.
In the early 1860's Sandycroft Colliery & Brickworks worked
the site. It then passed through many hands until
ownership by the Shone family, finally closing in the 1960's.
The company of George Watkinson and Sons owned brickworks and collieries in Buckley in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Etna brickworks.
The Globe firebrick Works opened in 1878 and it ended its life as a pottery works, closing in 1912. The wooded area of flooded clayhole is now one of Buckley's only remaining links to its brickmaking past.
The last brickworks in Buckley was at Lane End: it had been established in 1792 by John Rigby and William Hancock. In 1956 it became the property of the Castle Firebrick Company who also took over several of the other brickworks. Butterley took it over in 1971 and at its closure, announced in February 2003, it was owned by Hanson's. It had been one of the biggest and earliest in the area, and the last one to close in Buckley. The last chimney in Buckley was demolished at Lane End Brickworks on the morning of Friday 26th November 2004. It marked the end of a 250-year era for the town.
Although the location of the works stayed the same there was more prestige in using the name of the nearby town of Hawarden. This was because of its connections with the Gladstone family.
Again a Buckley brick but this time pretending to be from Chester!
This was one of a number of special ones made over the years and commemorates the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
This one is a paver.
One of the town's most important brickworks, operating from
1860 until the late 1960's. Their most famous products
were dark blue paving bricks. Castle Firebrick Co.
acquired the works in 1944 and turned production over to
refractory bricks for cement kilns.
North & South Buckley Colliery, Brick & Tile Co Ltd.
One of Buckley's largest works, it began life as a colliery. Amalgamation with a nearby brickworks saw its name change to the North & South Buckley Colliery, Brick & Tile Co. They were responsible for the production of the famous Rock brand. Closure came in 1914.
Originally opened by John Bates Gregory and associated with his nearby Mount Pleasant Colliery. It became the Standard Buff & Glazed Brick Co. specialising in hard cream coloured facing bricks. It ended its life making ceramic pipes and closed in 1969.