Patently Brilliant

Event information
Location: The Brickworks Museum, Swanwick Lane, Hampshire, Southampton, SO31 7HB
Start date: 15/07/2018
End date: 28/10/2018
Start time: 11:00
End time: 11:00
Price: Included in museum entry
Contact: Carolyne Haynes
Telephone: 01489576248

Have you ever wondered how we made enough bricks to build the modern world? The number of bricks needed in the country was at its peak towards the end of the 19th century and brickmakers had to radically improve in order to keep up.

The Brickworks at Bursledon (actually Lower Swanwick!) were run by entrepreneurs, the Ashby family, who were ready to step up to the mark and take brickmaking from hundreds of thousands a year to millions. One of the big hurdles they needed to overcome was to find a better way of drying the bricks before they could go in the kilns. In 1897 they took out a patent for their new drying system. It enabled bricks to be made all year round rather than when the weather was fine and gave a set time for the drying process - key improvements for increasing production.

Their site manager at the time was Mr Batley and he was also an inventor. He helped with the design of the drying sheds but he also designed a brick press that was used by the workforce to press the distinctive BBC logo into the bricks.

Both of these achievements are celebrated in an exhibition running over the summer months at the museum. The large drying sheds are open to view and two of the original Batley brick presses plus a steam driven one and several more.

Details of museum opening times can be found on our website.

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