What's been happening at The Brickworks
Heritage Open Days
First published:Sun 15th Sep 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
It is always a pleasure opening the site as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. Although we don't get the admission money we do get lots of new visitors who would not have visited otherwise. Working with our heritage bus group today we had over 500 on site. Heritage buses shuttled visitors from the Brickworks up to the Windmill via Bursledon Station. There was plenty for people to do and the weather was fantastic.
We are opening again next Sunday as part of the scheme. Just the museum though - a chance for a much more reflective visit..today has been quite a whirl.
First published:Tue 13th Aug 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
A small team of willing guinea pigs have been preparing for days when we are all in costume. This has been helped by a grant from South East Museum Development that provided the necessary training. It has been further helped by one of our volunteers being nifty at creating costumes.
What does all this mean? On two days this year - see the events page - we are going to get some of our small machinery going and be making bricks by hand. We are getting the clay prepared now so that it will be ready in time. More worrying is the sudden use of muscles that have been idle for years. The 19th century women brickmakers were able to make 4 a minute, hour after hour. We will be lucky to make a dozen in total!
A New Acquisition
First published:Wed 17th Jul 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
Maybe not the most beautiful item in our collection but certainly one of the unusual ones! This head was made by one of the workers probably in the late 60s early 70s. He used the clay from the site and crafted this likeness before firing it and then painting it.
It does look like Jason King from the TV series of that name. It could also have been one of his fellow workers.
...and photo shoots
First published:Sun 9th Jun 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
We are now on a proper film location website: Location Works
The photo shows how the old site can really work well when it comes to photo shoots. Now we have tidied up there are many more places in the old buildings that can be used. The motorbike is in one of the kiln chambers. If you are interested in using the museum either for photo shoots or filming please check us out on https://www.locationworks.com/
First published:Wed 1st May 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
We are gradually getting more and more of our amazing brick collection out on show. The bricks have come from all over the country usually via other collectors or museums who are rationalising their collections.
Putting them all out on display means visitors can see what a huge variety of shapes, colours and types there are. Over the next few months we intend to create interpretation for them...but how to do it? Should we keep them in the collections as we received them, or, by texture/colour/shape, or, region.....so many decisions!
The New Coffee Machine
First published:Thu 21st Mar 2019 by Carolyne Haynes
We are pleased to announce that we have had a successful application for funding for our cafe. This was awarded by the Fieldfare Local Action Group through their LEADER programme as this particular project met their criteria. The funding was for a new coffee machiner, coffee grinder and other kitchen equipment.
Volunteers are hard at work carrying out essential repairs to the kitchen area ready for the summer opening period. Once it is all complete our visitors will be able to enjoy a full range of coffees and cake as they take a break during their visit.
Sponsor a Brick
First published:Thu 6th Dec 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
If you are stuck for a present for the hard to buy person in your life why not sponsor one of our bricks.
For just £20 you will receive a box full of goodies including a ticket to visit the museum, a mini-brick to keep and treasure, a certificate of sponsorship...and most of all, our heartfelt thanks for supporting the museum. These are challenging times and all the money we raise from sponsorship will be fantastically useful for our New Foundations Project.
If you are interested please get in touch and we will send you photos of the bricks available to sponsor. There is a SCOTT, a TUDOR, a BBC and all sorts of others, even the humble LBC makes an appearance.
There are more details on our Facebook page.
First published:Sun 7th Oct 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
Now the museum is fully accredited we are being approached by more museums and private collectors to accept their collections. This is helping us move towards becoming the Museum of Bricks and Brickmaking as now we can display bricks from all over the UK.
We are slowly creating a display in our upstairs gallery to show them off. It is amazing how varied they are in size, colour and what is written on them. This brick came yesterday with about fifty others from Nuneaton. The next step will be to start finding out more about the individual brickworks.
First published:Thu 14th Jun 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
We are taking part in Hampshire Cultural Trust's Big Theme this year. The title is Creative Genius and we thought we would showcase Mr Batley. He was the site manager for The Brickworks when they started in Chandlers Ford and then here at Lower Swanwick.
One of his contributions was a new brick press designed specially for use with the clays here. We have two of them, one now fully restored. It has been interesting finding out about Mr Batley. He was not born locally and travelled all over the country before settling here. He was from a brickmaking family and his brother was probably even better at designing new equipment than him. William Batley had four patents to his name.
The exhibition starts on the 15th July and is part of the museum visit.
Essential Museum repairs
First published:Thu 10th May 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
Huge apologies to everyone but our cafe will be closed on the 7th June for urgent repairs.
The museum will be open as usual.
Thanks for your patience while we carry out the works.
First published:Sun 6th May 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
We are looking forward to our Steampunk event at the end of May (27th to be precise!). Steampunk, for those of you who know nothing about it is a genre of science fiction but set within a historical setting. It usually features steam engines in some form or another which makes us a perfect match. We have the Victorian steam engines, working machinery and authentic settings to make a perfect background for enthusiasts. There will be some amazing and imaginative outfits coming along - that is guaranteed!
Children's play area
The Living Wagon is Finished
First published:Sun 25th Mar 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
The Living Wagon that our amazing volunteers have created is now in the playground for the first time this year - and is being played in as this is being written! If you look back to earlier news items you can see the cart that we used as the base. This was bought with funds from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme. Our volunteers then built the rest. It is looking so sweet out there. All we need now is a very robust shetland pony (wood?) and some wooden furniture to go inside. A little kitchen would be great or maybe we should make an outside pretend cooking fire with log seats around it? It is the best part of the job being 6 years old again!
Bricks, Beer and Buses
First published:Thu 1st Feb 2018 by Carolyne Haynes
Shh, don't tell anyone. The tickets for the beer festival are now on sale but they are limited in number! ...and now sold out. Sorry! You can contact us in case we have had any returns....you might be lucky.
Details can be found on the What's On page. Once again our lovely Heritage Bus group are running a bus service to the station, local pubs are helping by selling tickets and our even lovelier team of volunteers are helping us with all the arrangements. What a great community.
First published:Wed 6th Dec 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
Here we are in all our finery accepting a Silver Award - one up from the Bronze we won in 2014! - as part of the Beautiful South Awards. We did really well against stiff competition across the whole of the south east region from Oxford to Kent.
The evening was very splendid with a meal in The Grand Hotel, Brighton and then the ceremony. The award is such a great recognition of all the hard work our lovely team of volunteers does for us each year. A big pat on the back all round!
Save the Date!
Beer Buses and Bricks
First published:Thu 16th Nov 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We have just had our first Beer Festival Meeting getting ready for 2018. Yes...back by popular demand we are adventuring into the world of beers, buses and live music for another session. It was such a good event this year we can't not do it again.
The date: Saturday 12th May, 2018 (afternoon)
The location: Here at the Brickworks
First published:Sun 15th Oct 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We have been nominated for an award again this year. It is for the Best Small Visitor Attration in the south east and we will be either bronze, silver or gold.
It is always brilliant to get praise especially when our volunteer team work so hard. Fingers crossed it is gold but we are happy with bronze as well...it is a stiff competition and to be in the top three is fine by us!
Showcase Event, The Great Hall, Winchester
Saturday 14th October 2017, 10.00 - 5.00
First published:Sun 8th Oct 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We are taking part in a Showcase Event in the Great Hall in Winchester this Saturday. It is a chance to come along and see what we and thirteen other museums are busy doing at the moment. It is all free and there will be entertainment including Regency dancers and activities for children.
We took part last year but it was only for invited guests, this time the doors are being thrown open so if you are in Winchester why not pop in and find out what is happening. It is rare to get a chance to talk to so many different museums about their future plans at one time!
First published:Wed 4th Oct 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
The organisers of the LARP event that was to have happened on the 7th and 8th October have had to cancel.
We hope this doesn't cause too many problems for anyone intending to visit. The museum will be open as normal on the Sunday.
First published:Sun 17th Sep 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
It is always nice to get new photos sent to us via visitors. This time it was a professional photographer (retinaphotography.co.uk) who came to interview one of our egineering volunteers. He writes a blog post about weekend passions and volunteering for an old brickworks has to be an unusual way to spend one's free time!
This photo shows the John Wood & Son steam engine at work as part of our Heritage Open Days event last Sunday. As this is a free day to see the museum we wouldn't normally be steamed up but thanks to a donation from Taylor Wimpey we were able to this year.
First published:Sun 16th Jul 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We have just purchased this little Shetland pony carriage to create a new play feature for the playground. We were awarded the money via a Tesco's Bags of Help grant and as the old climbing frame is getting to be on its last legs - literally - we thought we would change things around a bit.
The aim is to create a play area that is a little bit different to the normal ones. We will need a Shetland pony to stand between the shafts and plan to make one ourselves out of plywood sheet. If we can we will also turn the back of the carriage into a living wagon to match the ones that live on our site.
Other items we are looking at include simple diggers, sand pit and some kind of bucket and pulley system. We won't know exactly what until we find what we are looking for!
First published:Wed 5th Jul 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We have been donated several old model houses from Hampshire Cultural Trust. We don't know what they were originally designed for but not really for playing with as they had drains and details you wouldn't have expected. However, we are using them to create a small terrace in our cottage display area for children. You can peep in the windows to see what is going on inside. The idea is to create detailed room designs that reflect a period in history for example, a 1950s bedroom or a 1960s kitchen. To begin with we are just using the furniture they came with. One of our volunteers has been doing all the hard work. The rest of us are enjoying the results!
Porth Wen Brickworks
First published:Mon 29th May 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
On Anglesey there is an old brickworks in the most enviably beautiful position - Porth Wen, Amlwch. We think that we would move Bursledon up there like a shot if only there was access but the path down the hill is steep and it might be a bit impractical. The brickworks used the clay in the cliff face to make bricks suitable for lining kilns but it always struggled with the problems of access. They used the sea for as much as possible but the harbour was exposed and it wasn't easy in anything but a smooth sea. The last owner was Charles Tidy and you can find bricks with his name in the frog but we didn't find any when exploring. More information can be found here: http://www.penmorfa.com/porthwen/history.htm
First published:Sun 14th May 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
Probably the most exhausting event we have run for a while and it had a challenging start with a large powercut in the area that started around the same time the burger van arrived and plugged in - not his fault! It was also raining. However, after half an hour of crisis management the power came back on and the sun came out so all was well. By the time the first bus load of visitors - all 70 of them - arrived everything was on track.
We had tidied up one of our main under-used areas for the event and it was full of happy beer tasters and musicians from 12.00 onwards. It was lovely seeing everyone spilling out all over the site enjoying the beers, the food and the music.
Lots of learning points from our first ever beer festival but 96% said they would come to another one and how brilliant a venue it was. So, next year then?!
BEER FESTIVAL- SOLD OUT
First published:Wed 10th May 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We are so sorry to all of you who were hoping to come along on the day to our first beer festival. We have now sold all our tickets.We are limited to a certain number so that we don't run out of beer!
Beers for the Festival
...here is the latest list!
First published:Wed 3rd May 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
People have been asking us what beers we will be hosting on Saturday 13th so we thought we would give you a list. It isn't set in stone yet and there are also additional ciders and bottled beers but this is more or less right:
Bowmans - Elderado; Brewhouse and Kitchen - Walk the Line; Dancing Man - Jack O'Diamonds; Fallen Acorn - Hole Hearted and John Lemon; Flowerpots - Opus and Perridge Pale; Irving - Iron Duke; Itchen Valley - Q.E.D; Langhams - Aegir and Decennium; Red Cat - Mr M's Porter; Uphams - Best Mate and First Drop; Urban Island - Dolly's Special Bitter.
Tickets are selling fast so let us know if you would like to buy or visit one of the local pubs listed on the what's on page.
Beer and Cake
- an unusual pairing?
First published:Thu 13th Apr 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
At our beer festival on the 13th May we are going to be trying something new - beer and cake tasting. It isn't the most usual pairing but apparently the right cake with the right ale can set the palate tingling. For example, Chocolate Brownie, which by its nature is quite a bitter cake because of all the chocolate in it, works best with a porter or a stout; Lemon Drizzle, however, sings along with a fruity paler ale - maybe one with American hops and finally Carrot Cake (which frankly goes with everything especially the one made by our lovely cafe manager) is best eaten alongside a traditional best bitter.
We didn't know any of this a week ago but are rapidly becoming experts. Why not come along and try for yourself it should be a great event.
Ready for Opening
First published:Thu 30th Mar 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We are getting ready to open up the museum again - Sunday 2nd April! - and part of the routine is to have all the boilers tested and given their certificates. Always a tense time as they have to pass if we are to use them at all. They look for any faults that might make the boiler unsafe. So far so good, the cold tests are complete but this afternoon we have to fire them all up and run the hot tests.
The old boiler in the photo runs the Stott engine. She is going to need a re-build next year as her 150 year old plates are getting thin.
Ready for Opening again
First published:Fri 3rd Mar 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
We have been working in the Country Brickworks this week. The brick truck was used for transporting bricks around a brickyard. It has now got a display of bricks and is looking much improved. These narrow gauge wagons were used for so much of the work in the early days before fork lifts took over.
The other display we have been working on is based around the 'Stupid'. These were early brick making machines that were not that good at making bricks - hence their name - as they were too slow. They were great for land drains and tiles (if you didn't need too many). Our stupid has a tile die on it so we are using tiles to display it. A bearing-off barrow that was in hopeless condition has been repaired and it will now be outside ladened with tiles. Really they should be 'green' - unfired - but then they would all dissolve in the first rain shower so we have to use fired ones instead.
More Winter Tasks
... but only in the nice weather!
First published:Thu 16th Feb 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
Another task that we have been undertaking this winter is to sort out the Rowlands Castle Samples Building bricks. These were on pallets that were slowly breaking and so we have put them onto brand new ones and at the same time had a good look through what we have stored. These are some of the specials that are clearly marked but some are not so easy to identify. Constructing the building again is going to be a labour of love but well worth it. We just need some very keen brick layers who fancy volunteering!
First published:Thu 2nd Feb 2017 by Carolyne Haynes
Winter is the time for catching up on all the restoration projects and looking for new ideas. The piece of machinery the volunteers are working on here is a pug mill once used for mixing clay prior to making bricks. It was owned by Ralph Tanner who was a brick maker for many years. The museum has most of his brick making artifacts including the pug mill. It was rusting away and it was time for some tlc to get it back into working order and painted. It should be usable in the end and become part of our working exhibition.
Heritage Lottery Transition Fund
Moving the museum forward
First published:Fri 9th Dec 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
The observant of you will have noticed us becoming much more adept with both our Twitter and Facebook pages (@BursledonBrickW and www.facebook.com/BursledonBrickworksMuseum/). We have been given help via the HLF Transition Fund with using social media for marketing the museum. After a slow start we feel that we are beginning to get the hang of it. The real challenge starts now when the museum is closed - how to keep everyone interested!
We have also been busy learning all about fundraising. We took part in a Showcase event in Winchester Great Hall presenting the museum to invited philanthropists, have run our own business breakfast and are planning another museum event in March. Fundraising for all museums is an ongoing battle.
Finally, we have been looking at how we can really make use of our large site. It has been a busy year but really useful and as always we are indebted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their continued help.
Raising Steam - The new Pan Mill
First published:Wed 9th Nov 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
The Raising Steam project is closer to completion with the pan mill now turning for the first time in years. The volunteers are just making the finishing touches but it should be in action on our next steam-up day (23rd October). The exciting thing about this bit of equipment is that we can actually use it to mix clay. It isn't particularily old and it is in good condition so it should work well.
World Sight Day
Our new panel
First published:Thu 20th Oct 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
In time for World Sight Day we have installed a new orientation panel. It is made from clay - which seems right for a brick museum! - with braille signs. The design was created with help from local blind and partially sighted groups. We hope it will be really useful - looks great.
from Lloyds Banking Group
First published:Tue 20th Sep 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
A group of young volunteers from the Lloyds Banking Group spent the day with us this week. They worked so hard! Now we can see our old steam winch again - it had been covered with brambles - and started the task of sorting out our bricks. White's Removals kindly let us have some hardwood pallets so hopefully they will last longer this time.
@ The Brickworks
First published:Mon 8th Aug 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
We had our first Business Breakfast. 35 people came and ate a full English breakfast with us. It was a chance to network and also for us to show them round the site.
We are hoping that businesses start to use our huge spaces for events, CPD etc.
Fingers crossed it works.
Our second engine is in steam again
First published:Sat 9th Jul 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
The grand launch of the Raising Steam project happened last week with a tense moment when we weren't sure if the engine would be working or not.
Thanks to our fantastic volunteers though it started turning under steam power about an hour before the guests were due to arrive. The Mayor of Fareham and the deputy Mayor of Eastleigh were in attendance to see it all happen.
The second steam engine
First published:Sat 25th Jun 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
We have nearly finished the new exhibition display for the second steam engine. It is now all in place, new paths and ramps, new interpretation boards...all we need to do next is get the engine running. We had steam going through it for the first time yesterday but the piston remained stubbornly still! More work to be done to see why and fingers crossed it isn't anything too costly.
Raising Steam Project
The second steam engine
First published:Wed 25th May 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
Thanks to a big grant from the National Heritage Landmarks Partnership (Association of Independent Museums, Biffa Award) we are busy reinstating our second steam engine. This is the sister engine to our main one and also made by John Wood & Son from Wigan. It has been in store for ten years now and it is time it was working again.
New Room Display
Worker's Cottages now on view
First published:Fri 6th May 2016 by Carolyne Haynes
The new room display is nearing completion. Thanks to the Headley Trust we have been able to create four rooms based on the cottages built for the workers in 1900. They will contrast the way the men lived in 1900 and 1970s which was when the cottages were sold some time ago.