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Alan Wake - Looking for Photos and History of Watnall Brickworks
Peter Woodward - Re: Dave Stevenson
Dorothy Goodwin - My father was the senior blacksmith at Watnall pit
Dave Stevenson - Eastwood Coal Mines and Watnall Brickworks


From: Alan Wake
Sent: 27 July 2008
Looking for Photos and History of Watnall Brickworks

I am looking for some photos of Watnall Brick Yard when it was open and making bricks - I have searched the internet but can find nothing on the history of who built it and when it closed.

Can you offer any help?

Many thanks
Alan Wake

Picture the Past There is a photo on Picture the Past. It shows the entrance on the west side. The kilns are numbered 1, 2 and 3 (left to right). No. 4 kiln is situated behind no. 3. At the rear of no. 1 is the puddle-shop, where the bricks were made. Behind are the remains of Watnall Colliery. On the left is the railway embankment of the branch line from the Great Northern Railway which served the colliery and the brickworks, both of which were nationalised in 1947. The brickworks were closed in the spring of 1975 and demolished in 2009.


From: Dave Stevenson
Sent: 10 October 2004
Eastwood Coal Mines and Watnall Brickworks


Hello Came across your site on the coal mines of Eastwood.

My dad was a miner the whole of his life, working at Hucknall No 1 and No 2 collieries.

My first job after leaving school (August 1955) was at Watnall brickworks in the office. The Coal mine was of course closed down but much of the pithead equipments was still in place and I used to spend my lunch hour "exploring" the site and it was this that gave me a love of engineering, which set me of on my career. I no longer live in Nottinghamshire but I come back on a regular basis, I still can't believe that after all these yeas the chimneys of the brickworks welcome me back home. Of course when I worked there where the M1 now runs was a mineral railway, happy days.

Hucknall  No 2 colliery.
Hucknall No 2 Colliery.
I left school at 15 in August 1955. I began work as a junior clerk at Watnall brickworks (£2 19s 0d pw). A Mr Palmer was the brickworks manager. At that time the old colliery winding engine was still in situ, and also I seem to remember the headstocks. The shaft was still there, fenced off and minus the cage. I spent all my lunch breaks wandering around the old colliery site - no healthand safety regulations in those days - and used to marvel at the old steam winding engine, and throw bricks down the shaft, never heard them hit the bottom. It was that old winding engine which started my love of technology and eventually lead to my joining the Royal Air Force as a technician. It was my dad's proudest boast that not one of his three sons had to go down the mines. He spent a lifetime in the mines from the age of 14, first at Shonkeys? nr Bulwell and then at Hucknall No1 and No 2. Sadly he died in 1987, suffering, as did so many miners, from pneumoconiosis. 

Did you know that Watnall brickworks made the bricks not from clay, but from colliery spoil? One of the sources of this spoil was by rail from Moorgreen pit, a train came every day at approx 3:30 pm with about 10 wagons of spoil, and then after much puffing (ah the days of steam) and shunting dropped the wagons off and returned to Moorgreen with the previous days empty wagons. We also got spoil by road from Wollaton colliery. I believe this was because Wollaton pit was in a built up area and there were no tips attached to the colliery, the only way to dispose of the waste was to cart it away by road. One of my duties was to book the lorries in at the Watnall brickworks.

The waste was then fed into a crushing machine were it was ground to a texture finer than talcum powder.

Moorgreen Pit
Moorgreen Pit

The waste was then fed into a crushing machine were it was ground to a texture finer than talcum powder. It was then mixed with water to form a 'puddle' clay. It was then put into moulds and shaped, under pressure, into bricks. These were then put into the kilns to bake for about 14 days. The works produced common bricks, these were used to build the inner walls of buildings, none of your breeze block inner walls in those days. We also supplied 'puddle' bricks to the East Midlands collieries. These unbaked bricks were used to stop up 'Gob' fires down the mines. 

Many thanks for your site. We need to remind everyone the debt of gratitude the British people owe to the mining community past and present

Kind regards
Dave Stevenson


From: Dorothy Goodwin
Sent: 12 May 2005
My father was the senior blacksmith at Watnall pit

My father was the senior blacksmith at Watnall pit. He repaired the 'cage' as well as shoeing the pit ponies.
The years, to the best of my memory would be post WW1 to late 1940's.
He was clever with handiwork, making decorative fire pokers and button hooks,
I was born at Watnall pit or New Watnall.
My father's name was James Walter Clarke, known as Jim.
I sit here in Queensland Australia but it gives me great pleasure to see the mines of my home region coming back from the past.

Kind regards
Dee Goodwin nee Clarke.

8 Feb 2010 - Hi Dorothy - Tom Barber would like to contact you with regard to Barber Walker Co.

Pit Terminology - Glossary


Chimneys Demolished
More About Watnall