Industrial Lyme – Paper 7: Pottery and Bricks – Coade, Woodman

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Industrial Lyme – Paper 7: Pottery and Bricks – Coade, Woodman, Hutchinson & Fearn and Haycraft & Co. © Richard Bull & Lyme Regis Museum 2010…
Industrial Lyme – Paper 7: Pottery and Bricks – Coade, Woodman, Hutchinson & Fearn and Haycraft & Co. © Richard Bull & Lyme Regis Museum 2010 Little is known about brick making and pottery in Lyme - do you know more? It is quite likely that there is much more to these stories, so this paper is very much “work in progress”. Do contact either Ken Gollop or myself at the Museum if you do know more, or have any finds, postcards or photographs that might be of interest. Bricks and tiles marked from Lyme brickworks would be particular interesting. Summary This paper is not a comprehensive account of the clay industries in the valley throughout the millennia because the information is not readily available, but it serves to give a flavour of what is known. It covers ceramic goods made from fired clays and includes Coade Stone, which, whilst not a Lyme product, was a ceramic made and sold through the ingenuity of a Lyme woman, Eleanor Coade. Until the transport revolution, pottery and bricks were made in the Lim Valley and were imported and exported through the Cobb. The result is that ceramic goods used in Lyme even before the opening of the railway in 1903 could have come from a wide area in England and the near continent. Pottery made well inland was exported through Lyme. Bricks and tiles were probably not made or used in the area much before the 18th century; stone, cob and thatch being the preferred building materials. The great fires of Lyme in 1803 and 1844 gave a spur to the use of fireproof materials, but locally produced bricks and tiles always had to compete with imports through the Cobb. The railway introduced cheap building material from inland, in particular bricks from Exeter and tiles from Bridgwater, but the import of Belgian bricks at the Cobb continued until 1927. No bricks or tiles have been made in the Lim Valley for about a century, but local craft potters are still very active, although not using local clays. There is scope for much more research; archaeologically, with found materials and in the archives. Brick and Tile Industry in Lyme Whilst Flemish bricks would have been imported from what is now the Netherlands and Belgium, as ship’s ballast as much as anything, bricks were made at two sites in Lyme, none more elusive than those that may have come from the two fields called “Brick Field”, near Fairfield House, on the eastern entrance to the town. The other site, just as enigmatic, was on Monmouth Beach. Local brick making and imports over the Cobb generally ceased about the same time that the railway was opened in 1903, by which time bricks could be brought easily and cheaply from anywhere in England. Identifying any particular brick or tile can be difficult unless it has the maker’s name stamped on it: not all do but we do know that Haycraft & Co stamped their tiles “Haycraft Lyme Regis”. Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 1 After 1903 Pinhoe Brickworks at Exeter will have supplied most of the dull redbrown bricks seen in Lyme buildings. The bright red, soft bricks the Museum and 53-54 Broad Street (54 is Lloyds Bank) might be of Flemish origin. Often Flemish bricks and tiles mark the first incursion of bricks against cob, stone or thatch in areas in or near ports and where the use of brick was not the norm. A good example was the Red Brick Building on the quayside at Padstow, recently demolished. The Museum was built of in the style of medieval Flanders - as well as possibly of Flemish brick. Belgian bricks, probably from Flanders, were still being imported at the Cobb, according to a letter from Captain W H Mabson (Bridport News 2nd September 1927), who remarked that the cost of sea transport was less than the cost of rail transport from Exeter. Borough minutes tell that the consignment that caused Mabson to write, destined for Mr Luff of Axminster, lurked on the quay for many months resulting in many complaints. There are Tyneside bricks in the Museum’s collection from a cargo that did not make its intended landfall in Australia, being part of the cargo of the Heroine wrecked off Lyme in 1852. She was bound for Melbourne, carrying migrants, but had dragged her anchor sheltering from a storm in Torbay. Loosing her rudder, she was blown helplessly and sank about 4 miles due south Pinhay Bay. Her valuable cargo was auctioned in Lyme by Robert Cox Walker, a general and coal merchant. However, the bricks remained in the hold, because it was not worth raising them. Modern divers report a pile of bricks on the seabed 60m long and 1.5m deep acting as a reef for marine life. Our bricks were raised along with other wreck by divers: these are yellow-buff firebricks, clearly marked “Ramsay”. They were made by G & H Ramsay at Derwenthaugh on the River Tyne in County Durham. Ramsay made firebricks there between 1789 and 1925. Their bricks were frequently taken on in London as saleable ballast and are known from many places around the world, even California. Another wreck lies off Pinhay Bay, closer to shore than the Heroine. She was carrying red floor tiles, around 6” square. The Museum has several of these tiles. Brick and tile making – the Process Given the right clay, traditional brick making is not a complicated process, but it is a skilled and labour intensive one. In a small undertaking, clay would be dug from a shallow claypit or brickpit in a brickfield or from the cliff and “weathered” over winter, using frost, wind and rain action to break down the lumps. The brickfield would be still be grazed where not dug. In the spring, when frost had done its work and the ground was drying out, the clay would be taken to the brickyard, mixed to slurry with water in a circular pond called a blunger, turned by wooden rotating blades driven through gears by a horse walking around a circle. The water with suspended clay would then be led off into wood-lined tanks to settle, leaving stones, unbroken lumps, pyrite nodules, sand and other unwanted material behind. Once settled, the clear water would be run off and the contents of the tank allowed to dry, the clay remaining in the bottom of the tank would be dug out, then pugged or kneeded to a reasonably fine consistency and pushed by hand into a pre-sanded wooden mould, slightly larger than the intended brick to allow for shrinkage on drying. At this stage the name of the maker might be Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 2 The blunger at Wetheriggs Country Pottery, Penrith, Cumbria in 1982 impressed, as well as a hollow, called a frog to take mortar between the bricks when used. Specials, rounded or angled bricks for special jobs, such as wall tops, would have their own moulds and production runs. Tiles would be rolled out, like pastry, onto a tile mould. The green (ie unfired) bricks or tiles would be allowed to dry slowly in hacks, low tiled sheds, and when dry, stacked in a kiln made of firebrick bound with iron hoops. The kiln would be in the shape of a clamp, that is a low, flat-topped mound, and fired with culm (cheap coal) for about three days, when the clay fuses into the burnt brick. When cold, the bricks or tiles are removed and sold. For more details see Hammond (1981) A few years after brick making ceases at such small, local brickyards, there will not be much to see apart from “lumps and bumps” and possibly ponds across the surface of the field, which would soon be returned to grazing. The crude hack sheds would soon fall down and only the kiln might be left, as a lump of fused bricks overgrown with ivy or brambles, if not broken up for road mending. Sometimes, such traditional bricks were made by itinerant brickmakers, moving from site to site, using temporary kilns loosely constructed from a single layer of ordinary bricks. These kilns would only stand one firing, and the remains would be broken up and sold for hardcore, leaving no trace but a ring of burnt brick rubble and cinders (Mugridge, pers com). Brick and tile colours and textures depend on the type of clay, the firing temperature, whether sand-faced or speckled with iron oxides and position in the kiln, but generally the local Lias clays fire reddish-brown, typically “brickcoloured”, rather than the yellow-buff of Pinhoe bricks and firebricks, the deep red of Lancashire or Flemish bricks, the blue of Staffordshire bricks or the pale yellowish-grey of London stock bricks. Woodman’s Brickworks In appears that early in the 19th century a brickworks operated in the two fields on the opposite side of the Charmouth Road from Fairfield House. It was Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 3 probably already closed by the time of the Tithe Apportionment of 1844, which merely gives these field as pasture occupied by James Trim, but calls one “Brick Field”, the other “part of Brick Field”. Brickfield is No. 596; part of Brickfield is No. 598 on the 1841 Tithe Map. Note: the A3052 to Charmouth had not been built at this time: it formed a cross roads at the “T” junction shown running north, to avoid going via the cliffs and to ease the gradient John Fowles thought that Samuel Woodman was the brick manufacturer. The Woodmans farmed in this area, on the Henley Estate. A Samuel Woodman died in 1850, which ties in with an undated draft advertisement found by John Fowles in the Dorset Record Office and transcribed by him. With a typical legal lack of punctuation it records: Advantageous investment To brick makers and others To be sold (under the direction of the Mortgagee) All those valuable and spacious premises partly freehold and copyhold of inheritance lately occupied by Mr Woodman deceased as a brick and tile yard with two brick kilns capable of burning 14000 and 28000 bricks, in good working condition & …roofed in double and single hack houses tile moulding houses drying sheds storehouse barn and stabling reservoir for water and other conveniences. Together with a capital dwelling house water garden & land adjoining cottages for working men, buildings bricks tiles and gardens to each. Also 31/2 acres of copyhold land & 3 acres of freehold containing in vast abundance tile clay, brick earth and sand partly pasture & Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 4 partly arable. The copyhold is of inheritance under the Bishop of …at a quit tenr. of 7s 6d and subject to no fine or renewal. [DRO Ref DC/LR/N17] This was a more permanent brick yard that one operated by itinerants, having large kilns. Today the two Brick Fields are divided, part built up on the fringes and the rest full of lumps and bumps. However the ground surface in this area shows many indications of full of post-glacial landslides and surface slumping. Any workings would have temporally re-activated these fossil slides, so it is difficult to see clear evidence for brickworks after 160 years have elapsed. Brick fields here would have been in the Belemnite Marl, but being not far below the Upper Greensand, where springs break out at its base: the site is very wet. However, whether this is the right site or not, the fact that there were brickworks somewhere in Lyme at this period is undoubted and until further evidence turns up, the fields called Brick Field are the most likely candidate. Monmouth Beach Brickworks – Hutchinson & Fearn, then George Haycraft & Co In 1864 Messrs Hutchinson, Fearn & Co started work on their large cement factory at Monmouth Beach and also commenced the manufacture of bricks. There is no sign of a clamp-like brick kiln on any contemporary maps or photographs - unless it is just as a rectangular building which otherwise appears to be part of the cement works on the 1903/5 map. There was a bottle kiln between the cement works and the Cobb. Bottle kilns can be used for tile production, the tiles carefully stacked within the kiln, although often bottle kilns are pottery kilns. Bricks would not have been fired in a bottle kiln, really suited to small and higher value production runs. This bottle kiln is marked “Brick Kiln” on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps, but it may not have been the only kiln on the site, just the one the surveyors recognised. A bottle kiln is literally shaped like a bottle, rising up in one smooth brickwork Scurve to the chimney opening at the top. Inside is the central kiln itself viewed and fed with objects to be fired and coal through arches from an outer gallery within the overall brick envelope. The capacity of a bottle kiln is limited, hence its use for tiles, pottery and even fine china. There appears to be a lack of clay preparation, brick and tile moulding and hack sheds, but these could be within some of the rectangular buildings that otherwise appear to be part of the cement works. Tiles can be stacked and dried under corrugated iron sheets, so there may not have been “hack sheds” that the surveyor would have thought worth mapping. A bottle kiln there certainly was: it is clearly marked as a round building on the 1880 Ordnance Survey map and can be seen on photographs surrounded by stacks of finished bricks or tiles. The 1903/5 Ordnance Survey map shows it as a square building, but this corresponds with lean-to sheds built around it seen in the photographs. These sheds are not large enough to be preparation and hack sheds for bricks and tiles, but they are large enough for the needs of a pottery. Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 5 The 1888 Ordnance Survey Map showing the brick kiln as a circular building and no preparation, moulding or hack sheds. The 1903/5 Ordnance Survey Map showing the rectangular building around the brick kiln and sheds that could have been used for preparation, although rather far from the kiln. There is no evidence for a pottery at the time, nor can it be left-over from Samuel Coade’s pottery of the late 18th century, where Eleanor Coade conducted her experimental firings of Coade Stone, because in 1813 it was not there, the site forming part of Chard’s Timber Yard. In 1841, at the time of both the Tithe Map and John Wood’s maps, only Mr Weston’s Albion Cottage stood near the site. The location of Coade’s pottery kiln remains a mystery (see maps below and text on Coade in the next section). However, bricks and tiles were made here. The Bridport News of 7th May 1864 lauds the opening of Hutchinson’s cement works, as we are now unable to obtain brick for building purposes nearer than Chideock suggesting that since Woodman’s Brickworks went out of business, some 20 or more years before, difficulty was being experienced with brick supply in Lyme. Hutchinson & Fearn do not mention bricks in their advertisements. Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 6 John Wood’s Map of 1841 The Tithe Map of 1841 The fit of these two maps is not very good – what are the long sheds and what is the small building between them and Albion Cottage? This is shown on both maps: it is the position of the beach that is unclear on Wood’s map. The Haycraft ridge tile Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 7 This association with the cement works ceased around 1880, when Harvey’s, the then owners of the cement works, transfer brick making to James Haycraft & Co, lime and general merchants at the Cobb. A reddish-brown ridge tile and a roman tile (ie, a pantile), both stamped “Haycraft Lyme Regis” are in the Museum’s collection. George Haycraft was apparently the proprietor, born in Honiton about 1832. He can be traced, with his wife Ann, to Faversham in Kent as a cement maker in 1871. By 1881 he is living in Broad Street, describing himself as a “cement manufacturer etc”, although at the time William Porter was managing the cement works for Harvey’s. The partnership of Haycraft & Co as cement manufacturers in Lyme was dissolved on 17th August 1880 (London Gazette), but the firm is noted in the trade directory up to 1898. George Haycraft had moved to Glamorgan by 1891 and photographic and map evidence suggests that the brickworks finally ceased production about 1895. Haycraft is a frequent name around the country in the 19th century, often associated with brick, tile or cement manufacture and trading. Strangely, Haycraft never seem to have advertised their bricks or tiles either. Photographs show that the brick or tile stack had gone by 1903. Woodward & Ussher (1911) reported that closure of these local brickworks was due to good facing bricks being more cheaply obtained from larger works, such as Pinhoe, near Exeter. In 1902 the Lyme’s railway viaduct at Cannington, built of concrete made with Lyme Regis cement, was shored up with a jack arch made of pale creamy yellow Pinhoe bricks. A bottle kiln is clearly visible at the end of brick or tile hacks in this photograph, taken around closure in 1895. In the foreground is the cement works before it was extended. Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 8 Now there is nothing to see on the site: the bottle kiln has gone and its foundations would lie under the tarmac of the car park at the south west of the bowling green. Pottery - the Process The process of making pottery clay is essentially similar to making brick clay, but the clays are sieved to a much finer state and the choice of clay is more limited. Making a pottery vessel usually involves throwing the prepared clay on a wheel, although pots can be built up from rolled clay slabs or coiled clay ropes. Twostage firing is usual, glaze being applied at the second firing. Pottery in the Lim Valley Pottery found at the Uplyme Roman Villa included a wide range of wares from the several stages of inhabitation at the site over the four centuries of occupation. Pre-conquest material, including typical black-burnished Durotrigian ware occurs from 20 - 44 AD. Gaulish Samian ware and a wide range of both fine and coarse native pottery, occur in the first post-conquest phase, from 70 to about 190 AD, reflecting the native origins of the Romano-British people that occupied the site. Third and forth century middens contained a wide range of pottery, still including the native Durotrigian ware, as well as high status fine wares from Lezoux, Oxford and the New Forest (Pollard 1974). It is hard to say whether local pottery was being produced. Finds from the Uplyme Villa are deposited at Sidmouth Museum: there are a few finds in the Museum at Lyme, including red earthenware oil lamps. Post-Roman to 18th Century There is no information for these periods on ceramics in the Lim Valley. Hole Common Pottery Earthenware was made at Hole Common, in the far northern reaches of Lyme Regis parish in the mid 18th century. It has been described by Jo Draper (1982) from material found by Mr & Mrs Johnson and Mr Richard Roberts. Some 40kg of pottery shards and wasters (kiln-shattered and damaged ware not suitable for sale) were examined and comprised parts of bucket pots, dishes, bowls, thumbed necks and chamber pots as well as kiln furniture (supports and separators) and bricks and tiles, the latter presumably from the kiln itself. Shards from the Hole Common Pottery Industrial Lyme: Paper 8 - Pottery & Bricks © R Bull & LRM 2010 9 The material is of a dull buffish-brown brick colour, sandy and micaceous in part and slip-glazed. Spots of dark brown colour mark the glaze from irony material in the body of the pot. Some of the decoration is sgarffito, which is formed by scratching through the surface into a different colour below. This form of pottery made is referred to as Donyatt pottery; a generic term for West Country earthenware, after the Donyatt pottery, near Ilminster. Some good, decorated shards are on display in the Museum and there is complete bucket pot, probably from Donyatt itself. Such wares were exported and re-expor
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