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Report - The Brickworks, Swillington, April 2011

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by ZerO81, May 8, 2011.

  1. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Team Weasel
    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 7, 2010
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    The Brickworks, Swillington

    The brickworks was originally owned by George Armitage, who established the company George Armitage and Sons at Robin Hood in 1824. The site was chosen because they were able to exploit the shale or marl which was found along with the sandstone.

    The site at Swillington was founded around 1952 when the clay found at Woodlesford was exhausted, production was officially started around 1966.


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    The clay pit was red burning so they had to import clay from other quarries, including their main works at Wakefield, to obtain the variety of colour they required. The site was originally built to produce around 30,000 bricks a day, but by 1982 was capable of 100,000.

    Average brick production in its final years was around 450,000 a week, with sales around 350,000 (they would transfer some to other sites) until the housing slump in 2007 when sales dropped down to around 250,000 bricks a week.

    In 1998, George Armitage and Sons sold their brick making company to rivals Marshals Bricks of Halifax, the company was bought out again in 2005 for £65 million by Hanson Heidelberg Cement Group.


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    The kiln currently housed in the brickworks is a 1972 German LINGI design, which has the capacity to fit a total of 46 cars inside.

    At its height the brickworks produced up to 29 varieties of bricks including the Manchester Red brick, Farmhouse Brown Sandfaced Brick and Swaledale Multi Dragfaced Brick.

    The Manchester Red Brick was the primary brick used to build Barton Square, which was the £70 million second phase development at the Trafford Centre, Hanson Bricks provided 1,000,000 bricks for this project.

    By 2008, there had been a 40% drop in the demand for bricks in the UK and Hanson took the decision to cease production at Swillington with the loss of all 45 jobs.

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    Visited with Andy
    #1 ZerO81, May 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2011

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