Life in the Victorian Brickyards of Flintshire and Denbighshire
Disgrifiad | DescriptionISBN: 9780863818929
Author: Andrew Connolly
Publication December 2003
Format: Paperback, 213x257 mm, 286 pages
An entertaining and comprehensive account of the development of various brickworks throughout Flintshire and Denbighshire during the Victorian era, and the story of the workers and their families, based on information gleaned from contemporary documents. 87 black-and-white and 32 colour illustrations and 9 maps.
The author of this book had two aims in mind: to show today’s reader how much our lives have changed since the heyday of the industrial revolution and to pay tribute to the proud achievements of our Victorian ancestors. He succeeds admirably in both these aims.
If, like me, you were initially put off by the narrow scope of the title, don’t pay any attention to this reaction. The contents of this book are as wide ranging as life itself. It is full of fascinating detail, interesting and amusing anecdotes and soundly based research. In reading it, you will be drawn into the subject with increasing admiration for what appears initially as the rather prosaic activity of making bricks.
The first part of the book takes us through all the aspects of brick-making - the geology of clay, how the industry developed, the manufacturing process, conditions of employment and modes of transport. The treatment is always broadly-based, well integrated and enlivened with quotes from contemporary sources of the period. The writing captures the entrepreneurial vigor of the Victorian brickmakers and mine owners.
The second part is a detailed account of about 130 of the brickworks in Flintshire and Denbighshire. Each site is identified with an OS reference and is frequently accompanied by a map and photographs. There are numerous photographs of the bricks from these brickworks, illustrating the clarity of the imprints from the brickmaking machines and the variety arising from differences in clay composition and methods of firing.
Read this book and you can hardly fail to be infected by the author’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of the subject. Incidentally, on a personal note, this book has given me, for the first time in my life, an understanding of the relationship between acres, roods and perches!
Eric G. Hall