Monday, July 19, 2010

Glebe Road brickworks, Little Bowden

On the way into work this morning someone gave me a reproduction of the 1899 Ordnance Survey map for Market Harborough. I expect it happens to you all the time too.

I have found lots of minor points of interest to investigate, but two major ones stand out.

There was an isolation hospital on the Rockingham Road beside the River Welland, more or less on the spot now occupied by Swift's abattoir. I cannot recall ever hearing about this establishment and can find no mention of it on the web, but printed sources are available...

And it turns out that the brickworks in the photograph I recently posted was not on Windy Ridge but on the other side of Glebe Road. It must have been on the land now occupied by the recreation ground and the premises of the Welland Valley Vintage Traction Club.

Windy Ridge used to be known as Bricky Tip, and there was a tramway linking the clay pits there with the brickworks. Glebe Road passed over it on a bridge. I shall go back with my camera and see it I can make any discoveries.

The house in the brickworks photograph must be in Bellfields Lane and should make it possible to take 'then and now' photographs. The recreation ground on Glebe Road, incidentally, includes a skate park, which opened in about 1977 when the craze first hit Britain.

A Facebook group devoted to Market Harborough talks about remembering when you could go fishing in Bricky Tip, but that is before even my time. The essay which accompanies the map says that the brickworks itself had closed by 1907, when the urban district council established the recreation ground there.

I have heard it said that bricks from Little Bowden were used to build St Pancras, but then that story is told about every brickworks in the East Midlands. Given the size of the old pile, these local legends may all be true.

1 comment:

Wartime Housewife said...

I learned an interesting thing about London brickworks from the grandfather of an old boyfriend. Because making bricks was predominantly a good weather activity, before a man was taken on at the brickworks, the foreman used to go to the man's home and inspect his vegetable plot to ensure that he would be able to feed his family during the winter when there was less work.