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Report - - Gisleham Brick and Pipe Works, Suffolk, April 2018 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Gisleham Brick and Pipe Works, Suffolk, April 2018


tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
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A visit from the first half of last year, I half wrote a report at the time but threw a strop due to a poor internet connection and ended up losing what I'd written. So I'll try again, and this time will attempt to make it to the end. Although this place is nothing grand, there's a few nice pieces of old machinery still in place that make it worth a look. I happened to be in the area for a short while and this was the result of looking at maps to see if there was anything likely worth a peek (I also couldn't find any drains). I remember being annoyed at puncturing my hand on some barbed wire on the way in, only to realise that there was an even easier way in once I was inside that didn't require bloodshed. Oh well... I wasn't expecting much but was satisfied with what I found still in situ...

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History

Searching online I found this nice sketch / diagram of the works in the '1979 - 1980 Annual Report of the Lowestoft Archaeological & Local History Society' which showed pretty much what I found still in place 28 years later. (link to the full report here: http://www.lowestoftlocalhistory.co.uk/reports/LA&LHS An Report vol 12.pdf)

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'The brickyard was opened in 1934 by Easey Bros... The present brickyard began making agricultural field drain pipes in 1950 and has now became concentrated on that product alone. Brickmaking ceased completely in 1967, with the exception of one special order of 20,000 reds (extruded, wirecut, no frog) in 1977. The maximum output amounts to 60,000 field drain pipes per week, in 12 inch lengths (121⁄2 inches when cut before drying and firing) and 3", 4" and 6" internal diameters (4", 5" and 7" external). Junction pipes are handmade, with cutting moulds for the opening and jointing angle.
In the late 1940’s there were 40 employees; in 1955, 20-25 men; now 14.'
- relevant bits of history taken from the archeology report here - so the 'now' bit refers to 1979: http://www.lowestoftlocalhistory.co.uk/reports/LA&LHS An Report vol 12.pdf)

The kilns and chimneys are grade two listed: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1032083

According to a meeting of creditors note (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/50360/page/18289/data.pdf) the site closed in November 1985.

In 2011 it was reported that a preservation trust had been set up to look after some sites such as this pipe works: https://www.lowestoftjournal.co.uk/news/trust-set-up-to-protect-historic-buildings-1-827669

More info here: https://www.geograph.org.uk/snippet/10644

I think part of the site is still used for recycling operations....

The explore

Outside First... There were more buildings here, but they were empty and I didn't get many pics. The Moulding and Machinery Shed was the best bit, however - it is a simple structure made of corrugated iron and wood with a metal frame...

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The big wheel outside powered the conveyor inside...

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Water cooling tanks (I think) outside the building...

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Round the back, tracks lead down to the ground from the top floor. These would presumably carry the small cart

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Inside - to the left you can see the wood framed conveyor belt...

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The manufacturing process explained:

'Excavated by mechanical digger, into a pulley driven wooden-sided railway truck (20" rail gauge). Pug truck has sloping sides and straight ends : 45" long by 291⁄2" (base) (391⁄2" top) and 36" high. Hauled up incline into upper works level, c. 25 ft. above ground level. Operator at top has drive/neutral/brake lever for pulley drive. Impetus of truck passes on the chain slack over onto a see- saw rail/buffer length and is tipped at 33° angle towards shute: 2 sectional boards on one end of truck unclipped to facilitate tipping. Large stones removed into shute to rejects bogey on separate track to southwest.
Material tipped down 6 ft. shute onto elevator belt; operator picks out chalk and stone-rejects shute on south side. Important to remove even quite small bits of chalk because they fire as holes burned in the pipes; what does remain in the pug will fire as lime and must be slaked in dip tanks to be rendered harmless. Pug drops off elevator onto a flat reverse belt beneath, and through a pair of grinders, where further stone and clay boulder rejected, then down into pugmaker ‒ clay squeezed through two rollers, the lower one revolving faster than the upper thus shredding the material, which is finally extruded as two pipe lengths. These are then cut to the required length and will dry in as little as 24 hours in the summer.' (Detail from: http://www.lowestoftlocalhistory.co.uk/reports/LA&LHS An Report vol 12.pdf)


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One of the belt drives...

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A solitary cart...

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Up the laddz

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Also nice were the brick kilns - there were three in total - and the two chimney stacks.

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Thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
It's a real nice little place this.

I had the fright of my life when I was there in the summer when one of the wooden ladder rungs about 2/3s the way up to the top snapped when I had both feet resting on it!
 

urbanchemist

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Excellent - nice to find a place with so much stuff, along with an archeological report to explain how it worked.
Any idea how the kilns were fuelled - coal/oil/gas?
 

tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
Excellent - nice to find a place with so much stuff, along with an archeological report to explain how it worked.
Any idea how the kilns were fuelled - coal/oil/gas?
Yeah I saw from what I found online that the kilns were there before I went (that's what I found on the map) but didn't think the machine room would be so intact. As for how the kilns were fired, it seems that they were originally coal powered but then converted to be oil fired kilns..

Note: if this was one of your reports you would have no doubt already provided this in depth and informative information in the actual report, haha! I'm too lazy.
 

tarkovsky

xtal
Regular User
It's a real nice little place this.

I had the fright of my life when I was there in the summer when one of the wooden ladder rungs about 2/3s the way up to the top snapped when I had both feet resting on it!
Haha, oh no! Good to know you've been tho. I suspect your pics came out better than these - the light was crappy on this day. I was a bit nervous of the long wooden ladder too, and didn't stay too long on that top floor either, just in case.
 

cunningcorgi

28DL Regular User
Regular User
That kiln !!
 

urbanchemist

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Yeah I saw from what I found online that the kilns were there before I went (that's what I found on the map) but didn't think the machine room would be so intact. As for how the kilns were fired, it seems that they were originally coal powered but then converted to be oil fired kilns.. .
Maybe the little partly bricked up entrances were originally the coal furnaces then, a bit like this https://www.henrywatson.com/our-story/the-downdraft-kiln.html
 

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