Stonehouse History Group

Welcome to the web site for Stonehouse History Group

- promoting  interest in the History of Stonehouse & the locality.

The company was founded in 1891, the bricks were mainly used in the building of first class residences, railway stations, churches, schools and public buildings.

Stonehouse Post Office, houses in Queens Road, Verney Road and Upper Queens Road were all made from Stonehouse Brick & Tile Company bricks.  

They also made several patterns of decorative small animals - rabbits and frogs, they were made at the end of a working week when there was little to do but fire bricks and leave them.

There were a lot of pattern makers about who would make a private pattern for a shilling or two; a mould was made from this and the clay for slightly less than a brick would be inserted into the jaws of a sort of very large tongs, with the mould, and squeezed.

When the tongs were opened, out would come the animal which would be put into the brick furnace to be burned with the bricks.

The tong and mould mechanism was ordinarily used for making all the ornamental moulding that you see on local houses; the rabbit is what was called a ‘toy', in other words, something  made for fun.

Geoffrey Young remembers  squirrels, rabbits, frogs, hedgehogs, owls and birdbaths being made by Billy Shill in a workshop on the edge of the Brickworks. He also made fireplaces to order. This would have been in the 1930s and 40s.

Jefferies Brickworks also had these animals.

The imposing looking St. Philips Church in Swindon Wiltshire England

Stonehouse Brick and Tile Co. Ltd. 1891 - 1968.

This beautiful English Clock Tower in Buenos Aires was built in 1916 to celebrate the centenary of the May Revolution in Argentina.

In 2016 SHG sent a memorial plaque to be fixed in the Tower to commemorate the Stonehouse bricks.

History of the Stonehouse Brick & Tile Co Ltd.

Stonehouse Brick and Tile Co. Ltd occupied the area where the Rosedale housing estate is now.

The “Fairy Tale Castle” looking St George Church Worcester England. Designed by Sir Aston Webb R. A. Built in 1893-95.

Among the buildings built from Stonehouse Brick were:-

This is another extract from local shopkeeper Cyril Chandler’s wonderful cine film which depicts the men working at Stonehouse Brick and Tile Company circa 1945, including Lionel Hill (stoker) and Cyril Hyde. Can you recognise anyone?

Many of the buildings at Tidworth and Bulford Barracks on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire were built from 6,000,000 bricks from Stonehouse Brick & Tile Co. circa 1905.

Clarence Street School Swindon England was built in 1897 at a cost of £12,091, for around 900 pupils. Now closed and used as council offices.

Euclid Street School Swindon England was also built in 1897. In 1904 it became a Central Higher Elementary School, one of the first in the South West of England. The School later became Swindon School of Art, and was recently converted to flats.

The Presbyterian Church Swindon England

Stonehouse Post Office Built 1933

It is said that Stonehouse Police Station is made of Stonehouse Brick but the building has a datestone upon its front wall dated 1890. As the Brick & Tile Co. Ltd did not start until 1891 it is more likely to have been bricks from Jefferies Brickworks at Ryeford.

Didsbury College Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol is made of Stonehouse Brick. The College was the oldest provider of theological education for the Methodist Church of Great Britain until it closed in 2010.

The Stonehouse Brick and Tile Company was founded in Stonehouse in 1891 and was set up at the north side of the town alongside the Great Western Railway line.  There was a loop line in the nearby railway at Stonehouse which was utilised by the brickworks. This was the brickworks’ private siding which was in use from 1891 to 1959.

In 1890 the prominent local businessman, Mr Edward Jenner-Davies engaged Mr Arthur W Anderson, who was the Manager of Bracknell Brickworks in Berkshire at the time, to investigate the possibility of an economical investment for a brickworks on the Doverow site. There was evidence of  brick making at that location in 1870.IArthur Anderson’s site report stated that the place seemed perfect to accommodate itself to the conditions. Anderson, who was only 31 at the time, was  appointed as the first works manager and charged with the job of setting up the works from scratch; he stayed in Stonehouse and raised his family here. His grandson, Jack Anderson, later became a JP and chairman of the Parish Council.

Production started a year later and, at its peak, the site covered 20 acres (8.1 hectares) of land and could produce more than two million bricks a year. The bricks were obviously of good quality because they were mainly used in the building of first class residences, railway stations, churches, schools and public buildings, including Stonehouse Post Office which was built by local builder Andrew Blick. Many local houses were built from bricks produced in Stonehouse including the houses in Queen’s Road, Verney Road and Upper Queen’s Road, and also many houses in Rodborough. Ridge tiles gave these properties a distinguished look. Bricks were also exported to countries such as Canada, South American and South Africa.

The Stonehouse Brick & Tile Co. Ltd. chimney was demolished in 1965. Pensioned off after 65 years of work!                                               Photo supplied by Don Gaunt