This film is part of Free

Bricks for Better Building

A brick seems a very simple thing, but here we see all that goes into making the great diversity of bricks that make up our built environment.

Promotional 1978 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


With the post war house building boom on the wane, one of Britain's major suppliers of bricks bids to increase its market share with a blow by blow account of its brick manufacturing process. Everything from red bricks to facing, engineering and paving bricks, gets a slot in this 1970s promotional film of Butterley Bricks, based in Ripley, Derbyshire. We see the bricks made and tested on hydraulic machines to determine how much crushing they can withstand.

This promotional film was made by Bradford film producers C H Wood, better known for their many films of motor sports. The Butterley Company dates back to 1790, taking over Benjamin Outram and Company in 1807, producing iron and later railway track and wagons. It also established coal mines in the East Midlands. After nationalisation in 1946 it went into civil engineering and brick-making. In 1968 it was taken over by the Wilks Group (becoming Hanson Trust in 1969). In 1972 it bought brickworks in Rotherham and elsewhere from British Steel, and the following year they acquired Midland Brick from the NCB. The brick part of the enterprise became Butterley Brick Company in 1985, going into receivership in 2009.