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Carluke, Mayfield Brickworks

Brickworks (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Carluke, Mayfield Brickworks

Classification Brickworks (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 74413

Site Number NS84NE 12

NGR NS 8514 4955

NGR Description Centred NS 8514 4955

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/74413

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Carluke
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS84NE 12 centred 8514 4955

Activities

Field Visit (1 December 2011)

Mayfield Brickworks, Carluke, South Lanarkshire (NS8514 4955)

General

Mayfield Brickworks does not appear on the OS Provisional 25-inch map (Lanarkshire, 1940, sheet XIX.SW). The site (1) comprises an incoming colliery blaes area, Crusher House, Grinding/Pan Mill area, Forming/ Brickmaking area and two continuous Hoffmann kilns. All of the buildings are of brick stiffened with steel beam frames and are roofed with corrugated iron. There is at least one major extension to the site in the 1950s with the building of a second kiln.

The common bricks made from colliery waste (as at Mayfield) and shale are unsuited to extrusion and wire cutting methods of brickmaking and were made using the stiff-plastic process (also known as the dry-press process) where the clay material contains little water and uses moulds and hydraulic presses to form the bricks. (2) These bricks do not need to be dried first as they have a low water content and can be dried prior to firing by the hot gases present in the kiln. The common bricks produced at Mayfield from 1947 until 1978 were stamped ‘Mayfield’. The works was owned by the Coltness Iron Co. (1947-c.1965); Caledonian Brick Co. (c.1965-78); Scottish Brick Corporation (1978-1984); Glasgow Iron and Steel Co. Ltd (1984-?early 2000s) (3), and Caradale Traditional Brick Ltd (early 2000s -December 2011). The workforce stood at about 60 in 2010 with a capacity of 14 million units of bricks per year. The site went into administration on 14th November 2011 and closed on Friday 2nd December 2011. (4)

Process

The raw feed for the bricks was taken in at the blaes or colliery waste incoming area at the south end of the site (MS6343/1/A). Conveyors (0.99m or 39 inches in width) then took the waste to a hopper (by James Mitchie and Son) and onto a short conveyor (DP 109836-7; MS6343/1/B) at the south end of the site. The waste was then dropped into a double roller crusher in the Crusher House (DP109790-6; MS6343/1/C) to break down the blaes and to remove waste material (such as metal fragments)by means of an electromagnet suspended above the conveyor (0.76m (30 inches) in width; DP109793). The blaes material then dropped onto conveyors (there were two in the Crusher House, DP109794-6; MS6343/1/D) which in turn supplied hoppers in the Pan House complex (DP109797-8; MS6343/1/E). These hoppers supplied the pan mills in the two-storey Pan/Grinding House (one hopper per pan mill; two conveyors; DP109778-83; MS6343/1/G). The pan mills then ground the blaes into a fine powder which fell through fine gauge metal gauze (or screen) below the mill rollers. The blaes from both pan mills would then be fed by bucket conveyor to another conveyor running the length of the area above the hoppers supplying the brickmaking machines in the Forming or Brickmaking area (DP109777, MS6343/1/H and I).

The ground blaes would then be dropped by the conveyor into a storage loft (DP109829). This dry blaes was then mixed with about 10% water in the Bradley Fawcett mills (DP109775) in the integrated pug mill and mixers and thence to the steel moulds on the revolving table which produced a clotting of the paste (the moulds are continuously sprayed with oil to prevent sticking). A ram then forced the brick from the mould to the level of the table and onto the press (DP109776) to be formed. There were three brickmaking machines at Mayfield in 2011. These appear to date from 1947/8. (4)

The pressed brick was then passed from the brickmaking machine onto a conveyor (DP109768-9; DP109801-3; 0.61m (24 inches) in width) which took the unfired or green bricks to the kilns. Each firing would take a week per kiln load. Latterly, Kiln no.2 was not in use as it had partially collapsed at its north-east end by December 2011.

Kilns

There were two, brick-built, 28 chamber (with corresponding openings or wickets), oil-fired Hoffmann kilns at Mayfield. The kilns date from 1947 (No.1; MS6343/1/K) and from the 1950s (No.2; MS6343/1/L) and measure 14.0m in width by 78.0m in length overall. (5) Kiln No.1 has a wall width at ground level base of 2.36m or 93 inches with an average ceiling height in the chambers of approximately 2.5m (100 inches). The fuel (oil and air mix) was introduced into the chambers through the arch holes (measuring 0.13m or 5 inches in width) from the charging level on top of the kiln by means of ‘lances’ (DP109784). The bricks were introduced from the conveyor into the kiln by a portable brick ramp which guided the bricks through the 0.33m by 0.6m charging hatch. The bricks were transferred to a similar portable conveyor positioned in the kiln chamber below. The bricks were then stacked in the kiln by hand. Dampers controlled the temperature (1000 degrees centigrade) and these were operated from the kiln roof (DP109820). The parapet around the kiln roof was 0.58m in height. Modern roofs covered the charging platforms of both kilns to give some shelter to the kilnmen. The Hoffmann kiln was patented by Hoffmann and Licht in 1858 and was modified in the 19th and 20th centuries, and was a popular kiln design in Britain.

Chimney

The chimney (MS6343/1/M) was square in section, with a tapering profile and measured 14.0m in circumference at ground level (each side 3.5m in length). It was approximately 35.0m in height and was shared by the two kilns. The exhaust gases travelled down the flues for each chamber through the opening on the left hand side of each wicket or chamber opening (DP109825).

This site was recorded as addenda to survey work carried out by GJ Douglas and MK Oglethorpe in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey and RCAHMS work. Also, the company which owned it had gone into administration and so the site came under the remit of RCAHMS non-statutory threatened buildings survey.

(1) See RCAHMS MS/500/53/7

(2) Douglas, G.J., Hume, J.R., Moir, L., Oglethorpe, M.K., A Survey of Scottish Brickmarks, 1985 (Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey), 6

(3) Douglas, Hume, Moir, Oglethorpe, 1985, 30, 51

(4) Information from Mr Brian McLaughlin, Manager, December 2011

(5) Douglas, G.J., Oglethorpe, M.K., Brick, Tile and Fireclay Industries in Scotland, 1993 (RCAHMS), 10

(6) Douglas & Oglethorpe, 1993, 39

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