bricksWell perhaps all is not quite as it seems but the British Broadcasting Company might have been built of some of these. Truth will out! Quester 9 had a very successful visit to the Bursledon Brickworks in Swannick on May 11th. We had a very warm welcome from a first-class guide from the Museum Director, Caroline Haynes. Her enthusiasm was infectious as she took us back to the foundation of the brick works by a Quaker entrepreneur whose aim was to flood the market in the 1880’s with cheap bricks and drive out his competitors. ‘There is nothing new under the sun’. We were shown the massive machines from Derby which extruded the clay in blocks to be cut into bricks by what looked like cheese cutters. The intricacies of the drying sheds were well explained and finally we were taken into the great twelve chambered kiln which has been fired continuously from 1897 to 1974. In all that time little changed apart from the introduction of mechanical digging in the 1930’s so what we have today is a mirror of our industrial past.

Thanks to Caroline and Gerry Bracey we all had a great day out which was educational in the fullest sense. All was topped off by bacon butties and a determination to spread the news. One or two of us will be back for their monthly steam days Richard Costard.

Richard Costard