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~ Gallery - Industrial ~
In this part of the Black Country, brick making was a major industry in the 20th century, and the nearby brickworks provided many Gornal folk with employment.
Raw materials were readily available, and led to brickworks emerging often as side-lines of the existing coal industry, the local clays were particularly suited to fire brick manufacture, Benjamin Gibbons of Dibdale, Lower Gornal was a major manufacturer and employer.
Before the 18th century and the first part of the 19th Century, local stone from Ruiton was favoured for building
However it appears bricks were much used for industrial building, sometimes brick kilns were temporarily set-up in the vicinity of a new build, and bricks made on the spot.
Brickiln Lane (pronounced 'Bricklin Lane') in Gornal Wood, most likely had a kiln there at some point however nothing has been found to confirm this yet.
Baggeridge Brick, Gospel End, Sedgley.
In 1937, the brickworks was built next to the Earl of Dudley's coal pits at Baggeridge.
The enterprise utilised the by-products of the Colliery, using local clay and a ready supply of coal slack ensured this enterprise became very successful, by 1945 a separate company was formed and Baggeridge Brick was producing bricks until recent times.
Baggeridge Brick in the early 1960s with the base of the landmark chimney in the background.
Photo courtesy of Geoff Wells
Baggeridge produced high quality bricks and undoubtedly they were used to build many Gornal houses and works.
Post-war rebuilding ensured brick making at Baggeridge successful, the subsequent loss of the abundant coal slack supply when the Colliery closed in 1968 was a concern but nevertheless production continued.
An early 1960s line-up of three new Commer flatbed lorries with their drivers and Baggeridge works in background
Photo courtesy of Geoff Wells
A Baggeridge brick early 1950s.
By 1990 the works was producing up to 250 million bricks a year, the blue brick solids were especially sought after.
The Austrian company, Wienerberger - the world's largest supplier of bricks, bought Baggeridge Brick for £89m in 2006, but this didn't stop the eventual demise of the works a few years later.
The site is now being redeveloped into housing, a small craft village with new workshops is being built surrounding the chimney stack, and this together with one of the remaining buildings are the only visual reminders of the areas industrial past.
E.P. Cartwright & Co., Upper Gornal
London Gazette 7 January 1887
. According to old maps, two brick works existed before the 1880s in the vicinity of Upper Gornal Colliery.
One of the works at the top end of Jews Lane disappeared by the 1920s, the other works to the north east - just off the Dudley Road disappeared sometime between then and the 1940s.
One or both of these brick works would have belonged to E.P Cartwright & Co. Fireclay Works, and brick manufacturers, Edward Parkes Cartwright listed is in trade directories of 1834, 1839 and 1865.
He is described in a trade directory of 1851 as a 'fire-brick and clay works, and mine proprietor'.
According to Kelly's directory of 1940, E.P.Cartwright & Co., was then a branch Gibbons (Dudley) Ltd. (Dibddale Works)
Other Local Brickworks
Two separate brickworks were shown on a 19th Century o/s map, south of the Himley Road, one belonging to the Oak Farm Estate, and another near to the Crooked House, both works has several kilns.
1851. James Bates, Fire Brick Manufacturor, Ruiton. [Melville Trade Directory]
1851. Parker and Fellows, brick manufacturers and quarry owners, Upper Gornal. [Melville Trade Directory]
1851. William Waterfield, brick manufacturer, Upper Gornal. [Melville Trade Directory]
1865. Samuel John Collins, brick maker, Barr's Meadow, Lower Gornal. [Jones Trade Directory]
1865. Benjamin Hughes, brick maker, Lower Gornal. [Jones Trade Directory]
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