This film is part of Free

Making of Bricks

A detailed journey through the process of brickmaking, now mechanised after being made by hand for six thousand years.

Documentary 1938 19 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


London Brick Company’s manufacturing site at Stewartby in Bedfordshire is located near rich deposits of Britain’s best clay for brickmaking. At the time this film was made, the company produced around seven million bricks per day. Early brick presses applied only two presses to the powdered clay in the moulds, but this was increased to four to achieve stronger bricks. For these ‘four-pressed’ bricks, the trade name ‘Phorpres’ was used.

600 Stewartby model village was designed and built in 1926 by the London Brick Company to provide housing and facilities for many of its workers and their families. The name was chosen to commemorate the Stewart family who had been directors of London Brick Company since 1900. Hanson plc acquired London Brick in 1984 and closed the brickworks at Stewartby due to issues with sulphur emissions. Hanson’s focussed manufacturing at Peterborough but their headquarters remain on the site which is also being developed for housing. Four of the original brick chimneys have been preserved as a reminder of the area’s heritage.