At the heart of the museum, and the heart of the collection, is the original brick making machinery, steam engine and related smaller equipment, such as barrows, shovels and wagons, once used at Bursledon Brickworks. The steam engine and machinery was restored about 20 years ago and is operated on special events.
Since the inception of the museum in the early 1990s the collection has grown to include:
- Examples of brick and tile making technology that represent developments in the industry over the last 200 years. We have, for example, a selection of brick presses, cutting tables and tile moulds.
- A significant collection of products of clay based industry - bricks, tiles, chimney pots, land drains and other examples - from the local region and nationally.
- A large number of wooden brick moulds. These illustrate the range of special shapes employed to create brick architecture over the last 100 years.
- Artefacts that relate to the small-scale country handmade brick industry, for example tools and equipment from the Pycroft’s works in Hayling Island.
- An archive of material with historical significance to the Bursledon Brickworks site or the brick making industry more generally. It contains photographs, documents such as letters and receipts, maps and plans and audio/video tapes.
- A library of published material, both historic and contemporary, that includes journals, trade catalogues, articles, books, manuals and audio-visual material. These cover a variety of topics relating to bricks, building methods and materials, engineering and the local area.
Initially items were collected predominantly from Hampshire and adjoining counties, but that gradually evolved to include national examples in-line with Collecting Policies from the early 1990s. Most of the objects date from the late 19th and 20th centuries but the collection includes earlier examples such as a Roman tile.
Many of our objects can be seen on a visit to the museum and the displays, particularly upstairs, will continue to be developed this year. However, a lot of the collection is in store as there is not enough space to have it all on display. We are working hard to catalogue our collections and make information about them accessible. If you are interested to find out more please contact our Collections Manager at the museum.
Do you have an object you think we might like? Please contact Mary Flinn, Collections Manager, at the museum.