Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. Today, Alex Coles looks at the brickmaking industry in Wing Buckinghamshire.
Wing in Buckinghamshire is a rural parish, and as such the predominant industry was farming. But amongst the rolling green fields In My Place was also a brickfield!
The hamlet of Littleworth, just to the north of Wing proper, lies right on the edge of a band of blue marl clay that stretches across Buckinghamshire. While I haven't found any specific records to prove the existence of brickmaking as an industry here in earlier years, there was definitely a brickyard established in 1859 as seen on the map below. It employed up to a dozen Wing residents, digging up clay, tempering it, and making bricks, tiles, and drainage pipes.
As a seasonal job, it's possible that the men giving Brickmaker as their occupation at census time worked as agricultural labourers in their off time of summer and early autumn - very handy to bring in the harvest - and it also may be that men who were first and foremost ag labs picked up extra work over winter working at the brickyard. Both the owners of the brickyard and the brickmakers themselves were generally born outside Wing, so the presence of the natural clay resource helped grow the village in the late 19th century. The brickyard finally ceased operations in the 1960s and the area where it stood is now housing (Chesterfield Crescent).
You can read more about the industry of brickmaking In My Place at http://wing-ops.org.uk/explorations/industries/brickmaking/.