NEWSLETTER No. 83. July 1994.
SIAS VISIT TO FRESHFIELD LANE BRICKWORKS, DANEHILL. 198 TQ385262
A bulldozer is used to move the material from the stockpile to the charging grid, and it is here that the various watered clays are mixed with about 8% "Coalite" breeze. The latter is added to the clay to give a self burning aggregate of about 10%. This mix travels on a conveyor belt up to an edge runner grinding mill which has a grid base ensuring that any rock is reduced to at least 3/8ths inch grading. More water is added at this point to give a 25% water content to the brick clay mix. Conveyor belts then take the material to one of the six brick making machines, where it falls into a bladed pug mill which extrudes the plastic material into a three brick wooden mould with metal frogs in the base, already automatically sanded by the machine. The moulding sand prevents the clay sticking and gives an attractive finish to the brick. Pressure is automatically applied to fill any corner voids and the mould positioned for manual release of the green bricks onto a metal pallet by a second operator who then transfers them to a drying oven trolley. The mould is then re-sanded for recycling. Three times each day the wooden moulds are washed under pressure to ensure removal of any adhering clay. When fired the bricks shrink by about 10% so the moulds are larger than the finished product.
When we visited in 1979, there were only three brick making machines, but this has been increased to six and in a couple of years time the number of bricks being produced will double due to the installing of a new machine, made in Holland, which will be entirely automatic and produce on one machine the same number the present six produce. These six machines are "Perry's Patent Brickmaking Machines" No.259656 made by Perry and Son of Westcliffe on Sea.
The drying oven trolleys, each containing 3% green bricks are wheeled into the ovens. There they are air dried at 225 degrees for 31 days, the heat being supplied by huge gas jets blown into the oven by electric fans. Over 43,000 bricks pass through the three drying ovens each day. During this time the moisture content of the brick is reduced from 2090 to 2%. Fork lift trucks carry the trolleys into one of the three roofed areas where the clamps are constructed. These are hand built ('crowded') and when finished contain over a million bricks each. To ensure stability the cross section is given a saucer shape and the bricks slightly spaced, so that 10 occupy the space of 12. A grid of already burnt bricks is laid to allow air to circulate and to provide and foundation. Eight inches of coke breeze are laid on top, serving as a base for the green bricks. 28 layers complete the height of the clamp and a double layer of rejected burnt bricks is placed around the sides and on top, providing an external cladding. An ignition oven is formed at one end and filled with 3 ft. timber logs. As the wood is consumed so coke is rammed in until the clamp is alight across its full width. The full operating temperature is between 950 and 1,000 degrees and this hot zone, once established, moves along the clamp slowly but automatically. The burning is quite slow, taking about 10½ weeks to travel from one end to the other. The bum is started when the clamp is about one third completed and loading continues. The clamp is about 180 foot long, 50 foot wide and 28 bricks high. It takes a total of twelve weeks, from the start of the building of the clamp until the burnt bricks are completely unloaded.
We were taken to each of the areas during our visit and it was quite exciting to walk over the burning clamp and see the pink hot bricks burning a few layers below our feet. None of us stood still very long and we soon "hot footed it" away from the burning areas.
Our thanks to the owners of the brickworks for allowing our visit, our two
informative guides and to Sir Freddie for arranging it and as an added bonus for
arranging such perfect weather. In writing this up I have cribbed much
information from the 1979 article originally written by Wilfred Beswick, and
this has made the task very much easier.
TOWN TRAIL No.2 - EAST GRINSTEAD
CAVENDISH PLACE BOLLARDS
SUSSEX INDUSTRY- WHAT DIRECTION FOR THE FUTURE?
In Sussex we are fortunate indeed in having an industrial heritage that predates most other parts of Britain with the multi-phase iron industry in its long time span and industrial relevance. Glass, shipbuilding, charcoal, timber were all early risers in our industrial history; yet it must not only be the distant past we look to for our studies. If it were how could Ted Henbury look at Crawley New town or Hugh Fermer analyse Hollingbury industrial estate, Brighton? We have to bring the changing nature of industry through from iron and glass, to arm and steel and onwards to plastics, power tools and microchips.
I have written in the past of the sectors of industry, primary - raw material provision, secondary - manufacturing, tertiary - the service trades, but now a new force rises on the horizon and one linked in a satisfying way to the county's industrial past. Some researchers now identify a fourth or quaternary sector that of information provision. Part of the Hi-Tech (sorry - that's how they spell it today!) revolution is not based in Tokyo or Silicon Valley California, or even on the M4 corridor. The Hi-Tech revolution in information provision is known as Multi-Media and the U.K. centre is in - wait for it - Brighton!
What is multi-media and what is this article on it doing in an industrial
archaeology newsletter? According to the industry's overall watchdog body the
Media Development Association (based in Brighton) multi-media came about thus:-
These companies, TV, film, publishing, printing, audio, video,
telecommunications, converge ' in the digital technology of the computer disc
and Sussex is where they choose to operate. But what connection does this have
with IA.? The artistic-media folk do not base themselves in plastic boxes or
corrugated steel sheds on out of town estates - no, they choose disused
factories, warehouses and industrial buildings in the heart of the town.
Buildings we record, we campaign for, we save. the MDA itself operates from an
old furniture store in Jew St. Brighton. The site is in the heart of industrial
North Laine. - "plus ca change"?
BRIGHTON GAZETTE 28 April 1831
Harbour facilities, shipping and wharfing (not to mention the illegal side of
this) are a venerable Sussex industry important in 1831, before, and in the
present, but the next extract is of a wholly novel and revolutionary item, one
that was to change indigenous Sussex industry beyond measure, destroying much of
the old, boosting others and creating new, fields of enterprise.
SIAS ON THE AIR
John Henty (ex BBC Radio Brighton) hosted a midday peak-time programme which featured Dr. Fred Gray, Director of CCE University of Sussex talking on leisure and myself discussing work and industry. John Henty was keen to give our Society its full title and not deal in initials! To his great credit he managed to fit our mouthful title into the item several times.
Great play was made on the need to preserve old industrial buildings which if
not utilised for their original purpose will be needed for future nascent
industries (see Multi-media elsewhere in this edition). The- radio station
itself was broadcasting from a former
It was very refreshing to meet a team of local people, well informed who_had
a real interest in their work, our subject and my home town! In contrast a
couple of days after I was approached by Radio Sussex & Surrey to talk on
railway architecture in a live programme from the Brighton station concourse. It
did not bode well when the presenter seated in front of the indicator board
pronounced Southwark (near Shoreham) as if it were Southwark (near London
Bridge)! He was aware that Brighton station had architectural merit but was
stressing the point that a modem railway system was better served with modern
buildings. To this I countered by comparing Hassocks station before
modernisation and its current bus shelters masquerading as railway buildings,
and also by setting the romantic association of the Brighton line and our
station as against the bland and featureless East Croydon. However, carping
aside, he also gave us our full title (plus the initials) and as they say
"there's no such things as bad publicity".
NEWS FROM AMBERLEY MUSEUM
Finally 1994 sees the 90th anniversary of motor bus operation in Worthing and
the Museum is celebrating with a number of special activities. In particular the
recently restored Tilling Stevens petrol/electric double decker bus will be seen
out and about on the roads in Worthing and driving over some of its former
routes. The celebrations will culminate in a special bus rally at Amberley on
the 18th of September this year.
Readers familiar with issue No. 1 of November 1992 will note the fall in
price from £4.50 (inclusive of postage) to £1.50. This has been achieved
without loss of content but at some slight loss of quality in the printing of
the illustrations. This does not seriously detract and the excellent value
represented by the lower price will undoubtedly attract additional readers. As
would be expected the content is in the main concerned with Hampshire. Edwin
Course relates the history of the Twyford Pumping Station and the process by
which it was preserved. It is a story that he is well qualified to tell because
of his close connection with the establishment of the Trust that now controls
the site. The other three Hampshire articles are an account of detailed map
study and fieldwork which established the course of the Southampton and
Salisbury Canal through the parish of West Dean (by Jon Sims), an intriguing
glimpse into the way that Barnum & Bailey's Circus travelled by rail to
their venues using specially constructed railway stock, including visits to
Southampton and Portsmouth (by Bill White) and Michael Tighe's account of Gunner
& Co. of Bishops Waltham, the last provincial private bank which was
absorbed by Barclays in 1953. The remaining two articles do not relate to
Hampshire. Gerald Davies reviews the restoration work being undertaken on the
Forth & Clyde and the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canals while James
Paffet explains the methods of production and characteristics of cast iron,
wrought iron and the various types of steel. A value packed issue and easy on
Alan F. Hill, Sussex Savings Banks: an informal history (Lewes 1994)
pp 46 £4.75 including post & packing. Available from the author at 44
Houndean Rise, Lewes, East Sussex BN171EQ. By means of diligent research the
author has identified 14 Sussex Savings Banks founded between 1812 and 1845
aimed at promoting thrift amongst the small traders and labouring classes. The
great and good of the County were behind the schemes, anxious in a time of
distress, to divert attention from the attractions of radical politics and more
directly to keep down the poor rate. Such banks played an important role until
the arrival of the Post Office Savings Bank in 1862. The restricted and
sometimes inconvenient hours of opening of the Savings Banks made them less
attractive than the new competitor and progressively they were closed down. The
only one to survive later than the period of World War I was the Brighton
Savings Bank which from 1941 started to develop a branch network. It became the
South Eastern Trustee Savings Bank in 1948 and formed part of the privatised TSB
plc group in 1983.
Colin Brent, Georgian Lewes 1714-1830 The heyday of a Country Town. (Colin Brent Books, Lewes, 1993
Colin Brent's pedigree as a researcher, writer and town guide to his beloved Lewes is known to many of us (never turn down a chance to be part of his Lewes tours). This handsomely produced volume has all the panache of a Brent walk, combined with his meticulous scouring of the archives and gives to the town a gloriously rich window.
Two chapters stand out as interest in particular to SIRS members "The Mart of Mid-Sussex: exchange of local produce" followed by "The mart of Mid-Sussex: Out-County Commodities and Credit". Its industries ranged from the heavy work of iron-founders and timber yards, through dryers of hops, printers and breechesmakers to the intricate work of peruke-makers.
But it is invidious to pluck out of context
"industrial" subjects. The whole town is a rich complex of trade,
industry, commerce, but also of church life social affairs and the built
environment. Each strand leads to others and we can see the stages of growth and
decline, continuity and change that have shaped this very delightful community.
Lowfield Heath Windmill
The brake lever is about 12 feet long and runs along the side of the mill. The brake operates by a combination of weight applied to the lever and the natural tightening of the brake due to the rotational direction of the flywheel. The movement of the brake lever is shown at 'B'.
The wedge shaped cogs at 'D' a secured into the brakewheel tapered mortices. Additionally the are pinned at the rear, see figure 2. These cogs in turn drive the stone nut which turns the actual millstone.
Notice the head of the cog is offset, this is to allow for the final fitting of the cogs into the brakewheel by planing one edge. The opposite shoulder of the cog transmits the bending movement to the face of the brakewheel (due to the force exerted by the meshing gear).
At present the tailwheel is secured by ropes to prevent the windshaft and the
sails rotating. Once installed the brake will allow us to control the sails.
Wind power with our new sail cloths will turn the sails for the first time for
about 115 years!
The re-cogging of the main spur wheel has continued, which will then enable the proposed setting up of the stone nut and shaft.
The French Burr stone, rescued from the Hazelwick mill site about five years ago, has now been successfully recast with plaster of paris and iron bands fitted. This was achieved by laying the stone segments onto a 1" thick blockboard base, covered with a plastic sheet, tightening the assembly with webbing straps to hold a hardboard rim in place. The fine casting plaster was then-poured and the whole left to harden before fitting the three iron bands.
National Mills open day was reasonably attended with just over 100 people
passing through, somewhat down on previous years. Work is now in hand on the
control mechanism within the water control box. We have much of the arms,
brakeband and pivot bearings remade or refurbished and hope to have this working
by the autumn. The next sage will be to extend the operating shaft to enable the
water flow to be controlled from within the mill, on the stone floor.
LOST MILLS OF SUSSEX 2. BOLNEY MILL
Later one is shown on Gream's map of 1795, about half a mile north of the church, and another is said to have existed on the south side of the road between the Fox and Hounds and a place called Long Wood, on land still known well into the twentieth century as Millfields.
Of principal interest to us though will be the smock mill which stood to the north-east of the church, opposite the Queen's Head public house. This is first shown on Faden's map of 1795, although it is described in a sale notice four years later as "newly built" (the claims made in these documents are often exaggerated). It may have been the mill put up for sale in 1778 along with a house and half an acre of ground, but so could Gream's. Certainly H.E.S. Simmons could find no evidence of its existence before then. A timber inside the mill on which was painted "T F 1828" probably came from elsewhere, unless the date commemorates repair;.
The mill is next mentioned in the Defence Schedules of 1801. Schedule 1 records it as being capable of supplying 1 sack of flour every 24 hours, but in Schedule 2 the amount has r risen to 20 sacks - surely an error as such a huge increase in output does not seem likely! The miller at the time was John Barber, who in 1813 disposed of it along with a newly erected watermill to William Packham. Packham in turn sold it to John Bennett, in 1818. The following years were bad times for millers, due to a slump in the rural economy, and by 1825 Bennett was bankrupt. The next two incumbents, Robert Brazier Rice and Thomas Terry, were both short-lived, meeting the same fate. Then things seem to have stabilised, with Henry Leppard at the mill from 1839 to 1859. Later millers were H. Payne (1866), Thomas Ashby (1870, 1874), Messrs. Packham and Comber (1876, 1882), John Packham (1887), and finally a man named Pierce. The mill was purchased c.1878-80 by a prominent local dignitary, Edward Huth JP of Wykehurst Park. According to him it was by then out of use, but this of course conflicts with the evidence of the directories, besides which remarks made by a local inhabitant to Gurney Wilson imply that it stopped in 1891 or 2 when one of the sweeps broke off.
Huth carved out no maintenance to the mill, as he preferred it in an ancient and dilapidated state and thought restoration would spoil its romance! The remaining sweeps were removed in 1905, and at the same time the millstones were taken out and placed on either side of a new lych gate at the church. Latterly the derelict mill saw service as a coal merchant's store and a chicken run. It was finally demolished in 1916, having been condemned as unsafe.
Bolney mill was a small one, about 36 feet high, with two pairs of stones. The cap roof was straight-pitched, with the boarding carried down vertically to form a skirt around the top of the tower. 1 The mill was of particular interest in that it seems to have been virtually untouched for the whole of its working life. Few other Sussex tower or smock mills - if any - remained so primitive in character until the end. It was one of the last in the county to be winded by hand, the others being Hammond's Mill, Billingshurst and Black Mill, Bognor.2 The sweeps were commons, and most of the machinery was of wood apart from the iron windshaft. Not only the machinery but the whole of the structure was wooden; there was no brickwork in it apart from the foundations. 3 Only one other Sussex smock mill, at Guestling, is known to have exhibited this feature. 4 It is not necessarily a sign of age, being found on mills dating from well into the nineteenth century, but is comparatively rare and associated mainly with eastern Kent.
It should be assumed, unless indicated otherwise, that all other information
is derived from the Simmons Collection. The same will apply to future articles
in this series.
DRAPER'S MILL, SILVERHILL ST. LEONARDS. (TQ 798106)
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