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Men of the Princess Royal Brickworks, Bream on a staff outing.

Whitecroft Brickworks staff

Row 2 : All standing - left to right - 1 Ken Kear , 2 Reg Balllard , 3 Les Wintle, 4 Percy Havers , 5 Derek Treherne, 6 Tom Cox , 7 Sid Morgan (foreman), 8 Jim Edwards , 9 Harry Morgan.
Row 1: All kneeling - left to right - 1 Richie Cecil , 2 Trevor Roberts, 3 Wilf Ballard, 4 Elvet Rosser , 5 Jacky Morgan (manager) , 6 Bill "But" Treherne , 7 Cliff Moore, 8 Ted Morgan, 9 ? , 10 ?. ( 9 and 10 from Viney Hill?)
Trevor Roberts played the banjo, he was the 'entertainer' on the outings.

This occasion was an "outing" of staff from the works. A guess at the date is 1950. The Brickworks closed not long after 1951.
The efficiency of the brickmaking depended a lot on the weather. Rain would slow down the process. The 'perfect' bricks from this works were made from 1 skip of 'Bailey' clay and 2 skips of 'High Delf' clay - but no 'Bailey' and 3 of 'High Delf' had too much combustable material and the bricks would burn. Bailey clay came from the tip along "The Bowsan" (road) and 'Fancy' clay was also brought in . The clay grinding Mill was powered by electricity. The clay was ground, riddled, mixed, pressed and fired, - 2 fires going at any one time. It took 2 days for the hot bricks to cool down. If there was too much combustible material in the clay,the stack of bricks would melt and slip.

The nearby Charcoal works was visited by a man named Falkes (possibly from Hereford) who used the traditional charcoal making method of cords of wood covered in turf. He had a bivouac 'teepee-like' cabin complete with a hole in the top to let out smoke. It was constructed of sticks, covered with sacks of a very thick material covered with tar. Ken recalls Falkes was still producing charcoal in this way at Whitecroft in the 1930s.

Thanks to Ken Kear for many of the names and for details of the brick and charcoal making and to John Cecil who's brother Richard worked out of Princess Royal hauling the bricks.

image: a local Princess Royal Colliery brick (20k)The brickworks was at Saunders Green. The bricks were marked "PRC" (Princess Royal Colliery). We think it closed in the 1950s. It was later replaced by a sawmill. Brickworks are often associated with coal deposits as clay is usually found with the coal. The quality of the PRC bricks was variable and workers would often inform their friends when it was "a good week for bricks"

(photo by Kelly Imm)

Wendy Wilding added (August 2017): "... When I lived at Brick Pit House (between Parkend and Yorkley) Harry Morgan used to drive the lorry to pick up clay from a small tip on Brick Pit Corner. It was on the junction of the road to Moseley Green). We used to walk up Scrawl from Parkend school and kept hoping that Mr. Morgan would be driving up so that he could give us a lift in the back of the tipper lorry to save our little legs going up the long hill. It was great fun climbing into the back of the lorry but I imagine health and safety would have had something to say about it today".

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