Bricks have been used for centuries for all types of construction and most people take them for granted but they come in an astonishing array of different types, colours and sizes and many have a local story to tell!
Cheap to make but expensive to transport, in the 19th Century bricks were often manufactured in brickworks located on the outskirts of towns and cities. Local clay pits were dug in fields and the extracted clay was mixed with water and put into a mould or ‘pug’ where it was shaped and then fired in kilns. The bricks reflected the colour and characteristics of the clay, hence the reason why there are so many different colours and types which create a distinct look and feel.
In Cheltenham, the largest brickworks was on a 30 acre site in Battledown off Hales Road with production starting there in 1812. Under the ownership of the Battledown Brick Company from the early 1860’s, it became the largest manufacturer in the town and thrived until the 1930’s. However, increasing competition and improved road transport led to a decline in the post war years and production ceased in 1958.
Known for their distinctive orange tinge, Battledown bricks were used extensively for the construction of several flagship buildings in Cheltenham including the Town Hall, the old Henrietta Street Brewery and the General Hospital as well as many residences throughout the town.