Report - - William Blyth Tileyard, Barton on Humber, Jul 2009 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - William Blyth Tileyard, Barton on Humber, Jul 2009


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28DL Full Member
Initially this was a "plan B" visit after Phil_Scunny had found "plan A" heavily guarded by pikeys. It turned out to be 2 visits and is probably far more interesting than "plan A".


Bricks and tiles have been made on the Humber bank since Adam was a lad, by 1900 there were 15 working yards in Barton but the industry was already in decline and the number of yards decreased. The introduction of concrete tiles in th 1950s further eroded the popularity of clay tiles. There are only 2 tile yards left in Barton today - both known as Blyths.

WM Blyth was established in 1840 and they still make tiles in the traditional way, it has been owned by the same family for 150 years. The "Barco" tiles produced have a long life expectancy (a sample tested by the National Materials Testing Laboratory was reported to have an estimated lifespan of 400 years), they weather quickly allowing them to easily blend with old buildings.

Traditionally the clay was dug in winter(when it was wet) and the tiles made in spring (after the first frost) and summer. Frost damaged tiles were reused in brick making.

The clay was dug from the pits adjacent to the tile yard and loaded into a V skip to be propelled upto the tipping shed.


The V skip was propelled to the yard by this monster.


This was the last claypit railway in Britian, it worked regularly until early 2001 when a fault with the Lister caused it to be closed. The track had a gauge of 2ft and appears to have run right through the loco shed - "keep yer 'ed down"!


The lister took the skip to the tipping shed incline bottom, from here it was hauled up the incline into the shed.


The clay was tipped and lime was added if required, it gets taken into the clay mill by this elevator


"Grinding" is the preparation of the clay; it is passed through rollers and a worm mill to produce the "doles" of clay for tile production.



The doles of clay are forced through a die to produce the tiles which are taken to the drying sheds.


When dry the tiles are taken to this downdraught kiln for firing. This type of kiln differs from a conventional kiln in that the heat is directed upwards into the domed roof by the bagwalls (RHS of picture).


The kiln is coal fired, traditionally the coal would have been brought in by sloop to a jetty adjacent to the yard. The finished tiles would be transported the same way; a sloop could carry 90 tons of coal and would return with 30000 tiles.


There's 2 fireholes in this kiln and the flue runs centrally underneath the floor. This pulls the fire down through the tiles stacked inside. The view of the central flue:


The central flue is connected to the chinmey via a smaller flue:


Tall chinmey creates lots of draw in the kiln, the small flue has a narrow baffle at the base of the chinmey, must be an serious draft through there:


Theres a nice bothy at the chimney base, named by a local footy fan of taste:


Kilns were almost always burnt monday-friday, years of intense heat causing expansion and contraction have an effect; the kiln is braced externally using old rails. The result inside:


Finished product awaiting a collection that never came:


Finsihed product in situ:


Thanks for looking!


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