So, a brick is ‘just a brick’ right? Wrong.
A stroll around the reclaimed brick yard at Winchcombe Reclamation will open your eyes to a varied stock of different bricks. Here’s a small introduction…..
Bricks are composed of sand, clay and water. Often mixed by hand in the past, the result was generally unevenly mixed and, when fired, produced subtle variations of colour and texture. Brick making was a labour-intensive process and handmade bricks were often produced in small batches because of this. As the transport of bulk materials was rare before the age of canals, railways and heavy goods vehicles, these materials were generally used within the local area of where they were produced. This led to most towns having their own brickworks and therefore a recognisable type of local brick too. The Victorians much improved technology, allowing bricks to be made at greater speed and accuracy and more bricks were produced during this period than in any previous era. Advances in transport at this time also allowed these bricks to be conveyed anywhere else in the Country. The main noticeable difference between bricks is usually down to how they were made. It is clear to see the difference between a handmade brick which will be ‘rustic’ in size and finish (maybe even with fingerprints still visible in the clay!) to a brick which has been either pressed or wire cut (these will be more uniform and crisp, maybe with wire markings on the face.)
We always stock good quantities of handmade bricks, pressed bricks and wire cut bricks at any one time.
The variation in colour found in bricks is due to the type of clay used – the mineral content in the clay will affect the colour of the finished brick. For example, a high iron content will result in a pink coloured brick and a higher lime content will lead to a more yellow / cream colouring.
The firing temperature can also influence colouration. Most clay will fire to various red hues but through higher temperatures darker reds, purples and brown tones can be achieved. Restricting the Oxygen in the kiln produces a blue tinge – most commonly seen in ‘Staffordshire Blue’ bricks, a Victorian engineering brick commonly used in construction at this time. We aim to always stock reclaimed blue bricks due to their durability – they can be used as a damp-proof course, definition course, laid atop walls for use as copings or laid in the ground as edging or paving.
Bricks also vary greatly in size. Pre seventeenth Century examples are often 2” thick or less and are referred to as ‘slip bricks’ or ‘Tudor bricks’. These are commonly used in inglenook fireplaces or for decorative brickwork such as herringbone design. The introduction of a brick tax in 1784, which charged per brick for building projects, saw an increase in brick sizes as manufacturers tried to avoid the tax. At Winchcombe Reclamation, we stock various sized bricks including common Imperial and Metric sizes.
So, if you’re looking for reclaimed bricks for your project, we are a good place to start. Maybe you are wanting to match existing bricks, in which case you can take advantage of our brick matching service; simply provide a sample and we will do the ‘leg work’ for you, pulling on our various resources in the trade to find a suitable match. Or maybe you simply want to use reclaimed bricks within your project to create an instantly warm and lived in feel. Either way we can offer you a choice. All of our bricks are lovingly hand sorted, cleaned and palletised so there will be no extra ‘hassle’ factor compared to using those off the shelf of your builders merchants and because we often conduct our own demolition works, large batches of matching bricks are often available.