The contents on this page remain on our website for informational purposes only.
Content on this page will not be reviewed or updated.


Brick making at Newton Longville

Brick workers' cottages. Newton Longville

By the later 19th century an agricultural decline had set in, and for the rural village of Newton Longville only the arrival of the brick making industry would return a local prosperity. There had been local brick makers since 1847, but around 1890 it would be Thomas Read and his son, John Thornton Read (born in 1869) who were to establish a more substantial operation, employing about 12 men on a five acre site near the railway, about half a mile north of the village. They would later be joined by Richard Andrews, and so was formed Read and Andrews, ‘The Bletchley Steam Brick Works.’ In fact the row of houses that they built for their workers may still be seen. The firm enjoyed a local success, and around 1919 (when the works acquired the distinctive addition of two chimneys) they were joined by W.T. Lamb and Sons, builders merchants. As for the next development, it is often stated that ‘The Bletchley Brick Company’ came into being in 1923, but it was actually before then, and in 1921 there was even talk of a takeover by ‘The Amalgamated Housing Industries Ltd,’ with plans for large extensions. Now having the capability to make roof tiles, in 1925 the Newton Longville works began the manufacture of ‘flettons,’ produced from an underlying clay that mostly contained its own source of combustible material, and indeed the name arose from Fletton, near Peterborough, where this type of clay had first been exploited. Then in 1929 the London Brick Company and Forders purchased the works, and during the 1930s greatly extended the operations. Indeed, in 1933 new works were constructed on the opposite side of the road, and the old site then became allotments and a half acre lake. In 1936 the name of the company was shortened to the London Brick Company, whilst as for the wartime use of the works, here in 1943 the Ministry of Supply established an ordnance depot, where vast quantities of ammunition were stored in the kilns. After the war, with widespread bomb damage there came the national need for housing, and to accommodate the local employees of the flourishing brick works the Council, as elsewhere in the immediate district, built many new houses and bungalows in the village. In later years the Hanson Trust took over London Brick, and following their closure of the works there would be little to remind of the former industry, excepting the use of the clay excavations for landfill.