History of Crowle Brickworks
Crowle Brick and Tile Works
Crowle Brickworks was established around 1880 by George Robinson, adjacent to his brewery to the north of the railway and canal. As can be seen the clay pits were connected tothe brickworks by a small tramway which was initially operated by horses. The works had a large brick kiln and were mechanised. The reverse of the brick has the Clayton & Co Patent. Clayton and co manufactured both brick and tile making machines. In 1895 George Robinson was declared bankrupt,however it was not until 1906 that creditors of George Robinson sell both Tetley Hall and the Brickworks at Auction.
The brickworks is described thus; The CROWLE BRICK and TILE WORKS, consisting of engine house, machinery shed, drying sheds kilns and other buildings together with boiler, 17horse power engine, 2 newly erected brick making machines, belting, pulleys, hauling gear and other fixed plant and machinery, and also the valuable bed of clay used in connection with the works.Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Saturday06 May 1905
The brickworks were bought at Auction by Oaklands Bros., who also operated brickworks in and around Barnsley. The Hull Daily Mail reported in April 1906 that the brickworks would be ready for work in about 2 months and were spending around £5000 on new plant. It would appear that during the ownership by Oaklands the works became known as the Crowle Brick & Tile Works Co Ltd. However in 1919 the business was voluntarily wound-up by GeorgeOakland.
The brickworks were then acquired by the Redbourn Steelworks in Scunthorpe. Bricks were needed to build houses for this rapidly growing industry. Redbourn works in turn was taken over by Richard Thomas in 1925. In 1945 the company merged with Baldwins ltd to create Richard Thomas Baldwins.
It was nationalised in 1951 and ultimately became part of British Steel Corporation in 1967. In April 1972 BSC sold off much of its brick making facilities, including those at Belton and Crowle. These were sold to a private company, Innes Lee,of Overton near Wrexham who owned the works until they closed in 1980
Crowle Brickworks closed in late 1980. At that time it employed around 30 and was part of Innes Lea Industries Ltd.The works manager at closure was Alan Craddock. The site of the brickworks and the associated clay pits are now the Seven Lakes Leisure Park. Crowle Brickworks Loco A loco with works number 1881, was built in 1934 and worked on a 1′ 8″ gauge tramway at Crowle Brickworks. It is a Hibberd “Y” type, with a Ford 8hp petrol engine, and fitted with a cab. The line closed in June 1968, replaced by dumpers, and the loco was bought for preservation in October 1970 by Richard Morris of Kent, one of the consortium of enthusiasts who later set up the narrow-gauge collection at Gloddfa Ganol. Mr Morris re-gauged it to 2′ gauge in 1972. The locomotive is now at the Steeple Grange Light Railway near Wirksworth in Derbyshire.
Crowle Brickworks sold by BSC in 1972 On the 7th April 1972 the Times reported the sale of some of BSC’s (British Steel Corporation) brickworks. It was revealed that BSC were in advanced negotiations to sell off almost half of its brickmaking facilities. The main deal was with Butterley Brick company of Ripley (Part of the Hanson organisation) who were to buy seven brickworks – Thurcroft at Rotherham and six works operated by the BSC’s strip division. The other sale was being negotiated with a private unquoted company Innes Lee industries of Overton near Wrexham. The deal comprised of four smaller brickworks at Belton and Crowle, near Scunthorpe , within the General Steels division; Bilstorpe near Newark and Campbell at Stavely, near Chesterfield, both part of the corporations tubes division.
Submission by Bill Goldthorp A gang of what these days would be descibed as vandals often played around the brickworks in the forties, before what was known as the new clay pit, that belonging to Tetley Hall closed and a fresh pit started near the old potato factory. The odd visit would be made to the works at weekends when it was very satisfactory to run over the drainage pipes in the drying shed, they crumblesd so nicely beneath your boots. The tippimg trucks for the clay would often be left outside the works at the top of the incline into the pit. They could be detached one by one and riden on the rails down the incline, gathering speed and often derailing, the skill was to jump clear before the derailmanet occurred. How we avoided serious injury I do not know. The deisel loco was kept locked in a shed, but a new friend related to one of the presonelle at the pit, borrowed the key. We had often watched and assisted our fathers and other farm workers in starting tractors. We started the loco and headed of down the track but derailed that as well. Later, teenagers and perhaps a little more responsible, on Saturday afternoons in Summer we headed for the brickworks cricket pitch, invariably the brickworks or their visitors were one or two men short, we always got a game. No one fished the old pit, but when the new pit was closed and fresh one started, they tipped the top soil into the old pit. one day returning from fishing in the canal (we never bought a license), we dangled our bated hooks ih the area where the top soil had been dumped. Within minutes we were pulling out massive perch and roach, big enough to take home for tea. The old pit became our favourite fishing ground, but we could not keep our mouths closed, so it became everyone elses as well. Name and address not supplied.
Notes; The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Wednesday 13 September 1905
Crowle Brick Works for Sale
Hull Daily Mail – Thursday 05 April 1906
Oakland Brickworks at Tetley
Crowle Brick and Tile Company, Ltd. Incorporated in 1908. THE LONDON GAZETTE, 22 MARCH, 1918
Winding up of Crowle Brick & Tile Works
I can report that the Crowle Brickworks loco mentioned in your item moved from the Steeple Grange Light Railway in Derbyshire on 5 October 2022 and is now in the possession of the Crowle Peatlands Railway. It needs a lot of work to restore it! Tim Jeffcoat, Secretary, Steeple Grange Light Railway Society
Can anyone remember my dad Syd Jackson he would go there with Clark’s lorry as far as I can remember he died in 1964 . Would be lovely if someone remembers him.
Sheridan Bryce (Jackson)
Can anyone remember my dad Syd Jackson I can remember going with him to the brick works in a lorry?
Hi I’m trying to date our garden wall in bridlington built with Richard Thomas & co ltd bricks. Crowle. Does anyone know what years he owned the brickworks please?
I believe that Richard Thomas took over the Redbourn steelworks in 1925 and then merged with Baldwins in 1945 creating Richard Thomas Baldwin. So a brick bearing the name Richard Thomas & Co Ltd would have been made between 1925 and 1945.
Absolutely fantastic! Thank you Angus for all your hard work and sharing this with us.
The site is being cleared. An old steam driven machine has been dug out
I have some photos
I can send them if you give me and email addres
Hi Jem – my email address is email@example.com
I just wanted to say thank you for the information about the Crowle Brickworks. I am researching the Ansell family of my friend whose ancestors were piano makers in London until 1895 when they suddenly moved to Leeds. I could then see no reason why they would move to Crowle about 1906. Alexander Ansell served in the newly-formed RAF from 1918 to 1919 and returned to Crowle, my friend mentioning the brickworks. Reading your article, it has become clear why, because Alexander married Rosomond
( correct spelling) Oakland. You show that Oaklands bought the brickworks and I am beginning to see connections between the Ansell family, the Oakland family and Crowle. Thank you.
On a different note.
The cult film – Get Carter by Ted Lewis, is set in Newcastle on Tyne.
I read the book in the late 60’s, long before ever seeing the film. I remember thinking that the story was set in and around Scunthorpe, although the actual location is never, to my knowledge mentioned.
In the book, Carter meets his end at the knife of the Driver/Minder in the film played by Iain Hendrey. In my mind and at the time, I had brick kilns located in Asnbyville – to the East of Sunny Scunny. I lived there from early 50’s to mid 60’s and so much fits.
The book has no mentions at all of big car parks or shoot outs on ferries, so Newcastle is obviously a “non – runner.
Ted Carter was from Barton on Humber and apparently,the references in Get Carter make it clear it was set in Scunthorpe, although, as you say,it is not mentioned. The original book was Jack’s Return Home, IIRC. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/the-northerner/2012/apr/25/simonarmitage-alanbennett-northern-fiction-west-yorkshire-durham-lake-district
I was led to believe that a mr Clark owned Crowle brick works at some point around the early 1900’s but I cant see any mention of his name. Unfortunately I don’t know his first name. all I know is that they lived in Crowle and his son Douglas was killed in a Hampden plane crash on 1st aug 1941 in lincolnshire. They also had a daughter called Grace.
Any clues would be appreciated.
I’m sorry I have not come across that name in relation to the brickworks – it is possible that he was a manager of the brickworks. Do you have any more information about him and the dates he was in Crowle? I’ll see if I can cross check him with other records.
Mr Fred Clark was the manager of Crowle Brickworks 50/60’s. He lived in Park View, Crowle. He had another daughter called Deana as well as Grace. I worked with Grace in the office of the “potato factory” in the early 60’s and I think Deana worked in the office at the brickworks
hello barbara, I was just looking at the crowle brickworks history when I noticed your mention of Fred Clark as manager, he was my fathers brother ( my uncle) ,my father was Robert Clark. Fred also went on to be mayor of Scunthorpe. The Clark family had I beleive a long connection with the brickyards at Crowle, one of them I was always told invented the air brick which gave ventilation, I beleive that was in 1852 and was shown at Crystal palace exhibition. Somewhere in Crowle or near was a house with a plaque on it which read something like ( Fire, Clay,straw, and brew. Crystal palace exhibition 1852 ) I am now nearly 80 and these are some of my recollections of what my father told me.