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Report - LBC Stewartby, "The Largest Brickmakers In The World"


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As I'm sure you all know Stewartby closed after a century of brickmaking in 2007. The local area was dominated by its landmark chimneys, and boasts one of the finest model villages in Britain. The village was built for the workers of the brick works, and is still stunning today, like going back in time...

The chimneys were awarded Grade II listing, but it would seem that is pretty meaningless...

Demolition of historic elements
The proposed demolition of all four listed chimneys and both kilns must be fully justified. Although we acknowledge the potential structural and long-term maintenance issues associated with the preservation of all or part of the listed structures, we would like to see the opportunities for retention and/or re-use of the chimneys and kilns comprehensively explored. The landmark quality of the chimneys is undeniable but we find it slightly perverse to propose the replacement of a real chimney with a symbolic one.
Outrage over Attempt to Topple Historic Stewartby Chimneys
July 3rd, 2008 by timhill
Just seven months after the historic chimneys at the Stewartby Brickworks site were given listed building status, Landowner Hanson is seeking to demolish them as part of plans for a new 1200-home development. A planning application has been submitted to Bedford Borough Council for the proposed development, which would more than triple the size of Stewartby village and involve the demolition of the four remaining Grade II listed chimneys. I believe the chimneys must be preserved as a heritage site of international importance. These are the last of over 100 chimneys in the Marston Vale, and have only recently been awarded the formal status they deserve as listed buildings. A museum and heritage centre should also be included as part of any new development. This has been done by other brick-making companies in other parts of the world, so it should know that there is no need to consign history to the dustbin in the rush to maximise land values.We have also attacked the details of the planned new development, which propose tall, dense housing out of keeping with the distinctive character of Stewartby. They would also see the village more than triple in size. My friend Cllr Judith Cunningham has said: “The proposed development is far too large, and would swamp the existing village. The plans for the housing must also be re-drawn to reflect the special character and style of Stewartby.” Judith has also criticised the proposed location for some of the new housing: “It is absurd to build houses on the west side of the railway line, cut off from the rest of the village, alongside the landfill site.”

As it stands most of the works is still intact, awaiting demolition. I am in awe as to how the place has got away with such a small amount of modernisation! I can actually understand why it was closed, the whole place is like stepping back into the 1950s. Much of the plant seems to be of that vintage, and even the worker's mess rooms are furnished with 50's and 60's chairs and mirrors!

In one office, drwaings, plans, letters and ephemera was piled high in box files and chests of drawers, some dating back as far as the 1920's!

The top of the kilns is a lovely place to be. Blue sky, four epic chimneys, and surrounded by wild flowers and butterflies, lovely!!






























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