When did they close?
With different dates having been documented there has been much disagreement concerning the closure of the Burton Brickyards amongst Burton residents, friends and family. There was so much talk of it continuing on after the war ended albeit working and producing on a much smaller scale, but we just didn't seem to have dates.
After chatting with John Naylor who remembers working there in the 1960's I was prompted to look into it further. We also have knowledge of two old family friends Joss Hunt and Norman Kearsley who had previously told us of working there post WWII when they were on short time at the steel works. Norman told us of the heat of the kilns and the clogs they had to wear as ordinary soles would just have melted.
John from Burton upon Stather and a BSHG member told me that he lived in Flixborough at the time and used to go digging clay on Saturday mornings and helped out at the brickyards. He knew Fred, Alf and George Horne really well and also remembers Bill Bell, the Ricketts' family who lived in one section of the house and the Markham family who had lived in it previously.
Our father Bob (Ernest William) Day was born at Horkstow Bridge, the site of another Franks Brickyard, in 1905. Born into a family of brickyard workers it was the Burton Stather Brickyards that brought his family to Burton Stather not many years later with his parents and family eventually settling in what is now 112 Stather Road. I seem to have carried on the family brick tradition, not making them though but building with them.
I specifically remember the brickyards still in production when I came out of the Army in 1960. The Foreman at the time was Fred Horne who lived in the big house along the lane with his wife Alice and two daughters Jean and Yvonne. It was a big double fronted house that faced west, towards the big pond (see our photo of Jean West stood on the lane with the house behind her). Attached and to the back, both facing Chafer Lane, was a three bedroomed house with a smaller dwelling on the end. The middle one was lived in by Fred Cowling and his family and the other occupied by the Markham/Hall family.
Prior to one of the drying sheds being burnt down the shelving and the interior woodwork had been stripped and used to make kindling, certainly by my family and indeed many other villagers.
The shelves or
deels as we called them were approx 20" long and 12" wide by 1" thick.
After the war the drying sheds on the south side of Chafer Lane leading to the West's home were used.
I used to take pheasants and rabbits to Fred and Alice Horne even after they moved to Darby Road and continued to do so right up until Fred and then sadly Alice passed away. I talked to their daughter Yvonne, who still lives there and she confirms all that her sister Jean has told us below.
Jean & Brian Towers
Jean's maiden name was Horne and her family were involved with Franks Brickworks for a number of generations. Her Great Grandfather being a foreman at Blyth Tile Works in Barton on Humber (approx 1851), brick and tile making definitely ran in the Horne family's blood. Jean's parents Fred and Alice came to Burton in 1947, after the end of WWII so perhaps this solves the mystery of when the brickyards began production again?
She gave us names of some of the workers there. Fred (Jean's father), Alf and George Horne all worked at the brickyards as well as Bill Bell, Ricketts, Wag Hall, Markham, Fred Cowling and the West family with Harry West eventually becoming the warden. Smiling faces to some of these names can be seen on the photo of workers from many years earlier in 1928. The Horne family, the Markham family and Fred Cowling's family all lived in sections of the large house that stood between the sandpit and the brickyards as mentioned. Jean remembers the drying shed burning down during a grass clearing exercise by George Horne which got out of control.
Jean was able to solve the argument and confirm our memories were not incorrect by giving us an approximate time of final closing for the Burton Brickyards as 1965/1966. She says this is because she knows the family moved up the hill to Darby Road shortly after closure. She particularly remembers this as it was before she and Brian married in 1968. She remembers the production over the last 4 to 5 years slowing and the gradual wind down and that the premises were still owned by Franks along with a yard at South Ferriby.
Jean's husband Brian remembers himself and his soon to be father in law Fred Horne making a mushroom out of the clay and it going into the kiln. This was the very last firing ever to take place at Burton Stather Brickyards.