The brick that rebuilt Britain

Today's pictures come courtesy of Forterra, formerly Hanson, which has a special place in the Peterborough area's industrial history.

Friday, 13th October 2017, 11:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:10 am

The leading building products manufacturer is marking 140 years of production of the iconic London Brick, which is made exclusively at its Kings Dyke facility in Whittlesey.

Manufactured continuously since 1877, London Brick, which is also known as a Fletton brick after its original place of manufacture near Peterborough, was used extensively to rebuild Britain during the post-war housing boom.

Vintage photographs are archived (some of which feature here) at the firm’s Kings Dyke facility in Whittlesey, showing workers digging clay, operating kilns and loading and transporting the finished London Bricks in the 1950s and 60s, when the popularity of the brick was at its peak.

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Andrew Mortlock, archivist for Forterra, who is based at Kings Dyke, said: “The history of London Brick is tied to generations of workers from this area, and is captured and preserved in the hundreds of photographs and documents kept here, including many issues ofPhorpres News magazine, the first of which dates back to 1937.”

Over their 140-year history, London Bricks have been produced in their billions, with output reaching 16 million bricks per day during the post-war housing boom.

Today, London Brick is produced almost exclusively for the residential renovation, maintenance and improvement market, at Forterra’s Kings Dyke facility, which employs 260 people.

Stephen Harrison, chief executive of Forterra, said: “London Brick is one of our most successful and recognisable brands. These photographs and documents from our archive clearly show how the history of the London Brick is linked to generations of workers in the Whittlesey area.”

Forterra employs about 1,600 people in the UK, across 17 manufacturing facilities.

If you have any memories or pictures please get in touch, and in a few weeks time I will feature some more of the firm’s archive photograhs.