There has been a good few reports on Clockhouse Brickworks over the last couple years, however none since they put up the new fence and filled in a lot of the access points.
This didn't stop me and Brewtal however, as we ninja'd our way inside. That said, it was by far the hardest access I've ever found, full credit to the people who sealed this place up as they did a top job.
We had been planning this explore for a little while now, including drone photography and scouting trips, so it was satisfying to say the least when the plan came together at the end.
I visited here back in early 2015, so its was interesting to see what had changed and how much is still intact.
It's sad to say that it has been well trashed and vandalised since the last visit. The last 18 months have not been kind to Clockhouse, which might be why they have erected a big fence around it. It certainly seems be a magnet for undesirables who want to steal copper and lead etc.
This said, it's still remarkable how much machinery and tooling is still left, despite years of decay.
I actually used to know someone who was an ex-employee here who told me a little about it. He said that shortly before it closed they had spent vast amounts of money on a new piece equipment/machinery, all of which went to complete waste.
Not sure whether its true or not, but he claimed that due to the requirement to comply with new Health and safety standards, it worked out to be more expensive to bring the site up to scratch, than it was to close it and start from scratch elsewhere. I'd imagine in reality this was one of a few factors that lead to it's closure.
It's pretty sad because he said he really enjoyed working there.
'The Clock House Brick Company Ltd was founded c.1933 to exploit a rich deposit of high-quality Weald Clay to the south of the Surrey village of Capel. The outbreak of war in 1939 was bad news for brickmaking, as housebuilding effectively ceased and the workforce was swallowed up by conscription. Although there was some demand for bricks to be used in military engineering projects, there was little use for the high-grade ceramic blocks made at Clock House. By 1941, the Company was in liquidation and sold the majority of its share capital to the London Brick Company (LBC) to avoid closing the works. In 1945, the Company was wound up for good and the works were acquired by the LBC. Under LBC, production was substantially increased to meet demand from the recovering housing market and in the 1960s the factory was rebuilt to accommodate more efficient production methods.
London Brick was acquired by Hanson PLC in 1984 the works was refitted shortly afterwards to produce multi stock bricks under the Butterley and Capel brand names. In 1998, Clockhouse Bricks were used by three major exhibitors in that year's Ideal Home Show and by 2000, Clock House was be Hanson’s main soft mud production site, making around 42 million bricks per year.
The global financial crisis of 2008 hit the building materials industry hard, however: a sudden slump in housing prices meant that house-building ground almost to a halt and demand for bricks plummeted. In March 2009, Hanson announced a 'phased closure programme' which began later that month and led to the loss of 61 jobs. Hanson have since indicated that there is no intention to re-activate the brickworks or extract clay from the adjacent pits. Since closure, Clock House Brickworks has been in limbo, slowly being stripped of anything valuable while a lengthy audit determines the planning conditions surrounding re-use of the site. Plans for an incinerator ('energy from waste facility') on the site, bitterly opposed by local residents, were thrown out by a High Court Judgment in 2009 and the future of the site is now uncertain.'
(The Derelict Miscellany :: Clock House Brickworks)
As previously mentioned, they have erected a 6ft palisade fence all the way around the site. Getting past this was surprisingly easy, getting inside the building was not. We sneaked round the outside of the building look for ways in. We saw one potential one, but it seemed tricky. After ruling out every other option(not that we had many others) we decided to give it a go. It took a couple of goes but we managed it just about.
We were in!
It's almost overwhelming to see the vast array of machinery, walkways and control panels. It's hard to know where to even start at photographing it.
Getting out proved to both easier but more painful. I managed to slip and ended up with a nice big bruise an inch below the nipple. It certainly got Brewtal worried.
Exploring is dangerous kids.
The Drying oven
The Tool room. There used to be a big pillar drill in here, but that has disappeared.
The press for the bricks.
The chair shot, of course.
The maintenance room has been trashed.
Thanks for reading and happy Christmas!
Stewartby brickworks was home to the worldâ€™s biggest kiln and produced 18 million bricks at the height of production.
BJ Forder & Son opened the first brickworks in Wootton Pillinge in 1897. Wootton Pillinge was renamed Stewartby in 1937 in recognition of the Stewart family who had been instrumental in developing the brickworks. The firm became London Brick Company and Forders Limited in 1926, and shortened to London Brick Company in 1936.
At the height of the industryâ€™s production there were 167 brick chimneys in the Marston Vale. In the 1970s Bedfordshire produced 20% of Englandâ€™s bricks.
At its peak London Brick Company had its own ambulance and fire crews, a horticultural department and a photographic department, as well as its own swimming pool inside the factory, and ran a number of sports clubs.
More than Â£1 million was spent on Stewartby Brickworks in 2005-7 in an attempt to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.
I stole that ^^^
Anyway, I grew up in a little town about 10 miles South of Stewartby and had seen this place many times during its operational days. Driving past on our usual Saturday night jaunt to the Sanctuary in Milton Keynes when I was a bit younger I might add, you could see the chimneys billowing smoke as we passed. Always busy with traffic and people and yet now not a soul. This was more of a wander for me than an explore, I was so busy remembering images in my head of those days that I didn't actually take many pics. Never mind, I got a few. Very leisurely, no one on site at all and I was on a proper high after doing the windtunnels earlier on I really didn't care for much LOL.
That locally famous chimney
Oh how we all love a bit of palisade...but...I didnt lose a finger
The other way
Inside one of the warehouses
Probably the best pic I took allday haha, it's own train line
Inside the brickworks
The back side where the bricks were born
Perfect brick sized podlets
No idea what this was for but I couldn't help but imagine after reminiscing my Sanctuary days what an awesome place this would make for a rave, minus the pigeon shit!
More brick babies were born here
Oooooohhhh, a hook!
Some peely paint
Cheers for looking!
Nestled in Stewartby, Bedfordshire, around 51 miles from Central London is this former brick making factory.
The factory was situated in the area as that was where the best clay was, and a huge communal workforce lived right next to the factory in purpose built homes.
A bit of History here which has been borrowed
A nice explore here. A bit trashed in places but good for its year of closure and a lot to see.
Sorry about the picture count. More at:
Finally got round to taking a look at my pictures from earlier this year..
Visited with K1N5M4N and ZombieFart on a freezing January morning after I managed to get the wrong meeting spot - of the two same road names on my satnav I managed to chose the wrong one!
Anyway, after a bit of a walk and wet feet from a comical log in puddle circus trick, we were on the site and trying to find our entrance. After a bit of mooch we found our way in having scared the pigeons away. I am amazed this place is still as complete as it is having been closed for a while now. Very little graff too, although the half arsed attempt of a security dummy / scarecrow had been overcome - someone had knocked him off his perch.
A bit of history (which I'm sure is familiar to most on here):
This place sits on a rich deposit of high-quality Weald Clay and when it was found by some intrepid explorer (!) it was shamelessly exploited by the Clock House Brick Company which was founded around 1933. After a few hiccups during and following the war (something about lack of man power - who'd have thought it) the company was sold to the London Brick Company and in 1984 it was acquired by Hanson. The site was again at the wrong end of things when the bottom fell out of the construction market in about 2008 since when its been left idle.
With a bit of spit and polish and a good sweep up it looks like it could be up and running again. But then again what do I know!
Anyway on with the pics:
Thanks for looking
Been very busy of late so not had a great deal of time to spend on Photography/UE but managed to get a quick trip down to Clockhouse Brickworks so thought I'd share a few shots of this place. It was great to get out again for a look around some old industry. The old workshops were definitely a highlight of this location