26 thoughts on “Coatham Stob Brickworks

  1. Just stumbled across this thread, my my grandad Jack Watson and my dad Bill Watson worked at Crossley’s.
    My grandad worked upstairs firing the kilns and my dad was a fork lift truck driver.
    Unfortunately both are now dead.

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    • I worked there in the summers of 1970 and 1971 as a holiday job. In 1970 i was with an old bloke called Jack Emmett in a shed out the back. A dumper truck full of sand was delivered through the sliding doors and I had to tip a shovel full into a garden sieve then shake it to leave the stones in the sieve and the sand in to a barrow. the stones went into another barrow which went on a pile outside. I continued doing that until the barrow was full. then Jack took the barrow of sand put it into a cement mixer and added dye. The mixture was sprayed onto the bricks next door to produce the sand face before baking yellow dye produced “Coatham Red” bricks. white dye gave “Autumn Brown” As soon as i had sieved all the sand the dumper brought another load. I did that for 10 weeks. No mask or anything (health and safety no chance!) Luckily in 1971 they had got somebody else to do that job (probably dead now due to silicosis) and I spent 10 weeks sweeping the yard outside. I was paid £10 a week 25p an hour.

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  2. There a Coatham Stob brickyard reunion, this Saturday 10th December at the Wrist End Bowling Club, TS18 5BE, most of the old boys Horrocks, Taylor, Stew Gordon (sales) and a couple more. Everyone invited please pop in.

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  3. We had a good footy team too 11 a side and five a side. Me, Chris Smith, Charlie Vickers, George Hardy, Phil and I think it was Dave Wray.

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  4. I worked at crossleys from 1977 till it shutdown in 1995. Please feel free to contact me. My email is available from Picture Stockton.

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  5. My dad Norman Johnson worked at Crossley’s Teesbridge in the 50’s/60’s. His 2 workmates were Billy Nick and Jimmy Mac. My brothers Gerald and Donald and I used to play in the quarry on Sundays. While Lily my mom cleaned the office. Crosses did a magazine called brick bats which I believe my dad drew cartoons for. I would be grateful if anyone that knew my dad or has any info regarding the magazine. Regards jackie (nee Johnson).

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  6. My first job was at Cotham Stob in 1970. I had to help an old guy called John to sieve the gravel out of a load of sand using a hand sieve and shovel. (no face masks despite the heavy dust). John then mixed the sand with dye in a cement mixer and it was then used to coat the face of the clay bricks before firing in the kiln. Different dyes gave different faced bricks. The most popular ones were those made with yellow dye which then gave deep red faced bricks called Coatham Reds. I lasted for about 3 months. I am amazed I didn’t catch sillicosis!

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  7. The Building behind the pile of scrap on the last picture is the electrician workshops and the quality control labs, the second picture is of the ‘Rollers’ I remember when the bearings on this failed the fitters worked day and night to repair it as it stopped the whole plant, the Plant Manager would buy the fitters fish and chips and a bottle of brown ale for their evening meal….how times have changed.

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  8. My father worked there in the 1980s he used to take me and show me around the kilns, he worked there whilst it was Crossleys, Westbrick, then finally Ibstock brick before its demolition. My nanna was also a cook in the canteen, my nanna is Abbie Cowling and father is Colin Cowling.

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  9. In times past most towns in Britain had it’s own brickworks founded on using locally dug clay, in turn this meant local houses contained local bricks whose distinctive colour, size and shape reflected that particular areas preferences and brick making kiln skills and labour. Bricks in olden days were usually stamped with the makers name, evidenced by the wide variety of demolition bricks you can find stamped: Accrington, Halifax, Wigan, Armitage Leeds, and Askern Doncaster.

    I can remember Crossleys, and regret the passing of the local handmade bricks heritage we as a nation once possessed. Contrary to popular belief bricks are made from clay with no cement or colouring added, the temperature they are baked at gives them their final colour (the hotter the kiln the deeper the red) and men were employed to ‘puddle the mud’ by treading on it day-after-day, they then brought in cutting edge technology in the form of a Clydesdale horse who, using tethered reins pulled fairly huge wood circling paddles around to do the puddlers job cheaper. Suffice to say a lot of Durham coalmine owners commenced and owned brickworks in order to sell the clay they had dug whilst searching for coal.

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  10. My grandfather Walter Tebbs worked at Crossleys brickworks before the war, my father told me he went to work with the “flu, turned to pneumonia & unfortunately died. My father Albert Tebbs worked there till he joined the army to fight in the war, after de-mob they wanted . He had to barrow ten thousand wet bricks a shift into the kilns each shift, he subsiquently worked at the “nook” urlay nook chemical works, where I was born when we lived there.

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  11. I was employed at Westbrick (as it was known then) between 1985-1994. To be honest, I didn”t enjoy working there, although as time passes, I”ve begun to remember the good times I had there with the lads. I suppose I was a little saddened to see it demolished. The yard had a long history and obviously, many buildings were built using its bricks.

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  12. It is a great pity that places like Coatham Stob Brick works had to be destroyed. They always looked in good condition and well built. These pictures will bring back a lot of memories of the works-both good and bad. I believe they were original built for Crossley”s builders merchants? Can anyone confirm this?

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    • I served my electricians apprenticeship here 1977-1981, worked with Chris Smith, our boss was Tommy ‘Nick’ Nichols a proper Gent, also Paul Cutter, and Charlie, our store man was a scottish man called Jimmy. The Site manager was a fearsome man called Gilbert Lowe, great memories of a very different world.

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      • Some other people I remember were… Bob Thornton, Forman Fitter; Paul Fowler, Lab Tech; John Tweddle, Kiln worker; John and Dave who maintained the Forklift trucks; Geoff Small, Plant Manager; Tommy Johnson worked on the yard and in our workshop cleaning and painting; Freddie the ‘Oiler Man’ (his son was in the band Elvis Costello and the attractions) and Margeret worked in the wages office.

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        • I worked there from 1977 to 1995.
          Abbie worked in the canteen. I knew Col too he used to live in Roseberry Rd, Thornaby. That would be Freddie Thomas lived in Formby Walk, Eaglescliffe – he used to organise the Christmas dos

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