Brickworks in Shropshire

Barkers Green Brickyard.

Barkers Green kiln produced most of the bricks used in the building of houses in the area up until its closure during the depression of 1926. The field in which the clay was quarried and the remains of the ‘Beehive’ kilns are in the ownership of the Mainwaring family. The kilns were ‘Beehive’ kilns, which can also be seen at ACTON SCOTT farm in Shropshire
Bricks were carefully stacked in the kiln, in such a way, that enabled the flames of the fire to pass through the brick stack & so 'burn' the bricks. When the kiln had been stacked, the fire openings were bricked off & sealed with wet clay, the kiln was fired up & left to cool slowly for a further three to four days, at which time the bricks were ready for use. Brick makers often prided themselves on the number that they could produce.
“On Wednesday last, Joe Rush at Petersyke, Cumberland, performed the feat of making 1,000 bricks in an hour: 100 in five minutes: and 26 in one minute”. Carlisle Journal. Taken from Edward Dobson's “A Rudimentary Treatise on the manufacture of Bricks and Tiles”, 1850.
In the 1850 Burrows Industrial Directory there was the comment ‘Barker’s Green is in this (Aston) township and is noted for clay which makes a superior kind of bricks’ . When working, there was a chimney of more than 80 feet which has been demolished. The kiln was built of firebrick, held together with a thick iron band. There were fireholes at regular intervals through which the burning coals were pushed, before being bricked up to allow the bricks to ‘fire’.
The photo above left shows a typical Barkers' Green brick. Centre is the site of one of the kilns today. The iron band visible was used to bind the wall of the kiln to stop it expanding and breaking up during firing.The picture on the right shows one of the firing holes
The brickworks were owned by William Ikin. In the 1920s, he sold the land to the Mainwairings. Roger Ashton of Aston recalls his father witnessing the deal in the middle of the village, where the pound notes for payment were counted out.

Thanks are due to Bill Mainwaring for allowing access to the site which is on private land.

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