Find out about the Geology of Haltwhistle Burn here....
Riches from the earth.
Discover Haltwhistle’s long history of mining for coal here...
Threads of History.
Unravel the tangled history of the woollen industry of Haltwhistle here...
Seventeen and a Half Candles
Lighting up Haltwhistle- find the story of the gas works here....
The Story of The Brickworks
If you have ever walked up Haltwhistle Burn you will know where the Old Brickworks
is. Or will you? For the site bearing this name is in fact the last of three brick
and pipe making works in Haltwhistle. Carry on along beside The Burn up stream and
you will come to a sharp right angled bend to the left. If you look carefully along
the walled banks of The Burn at this point you can see the remains of two bridge
abutments. This, and possibly the stone packing in the cliff wall, are all that remain
of a staggeringly large industrial complex that filled the flat land on either side
of The Burn at this point. The South Tyne Fireclay Works was erected by Messrs Nelson
and Fawcett of Carlisle in 1848 for the manufacture of bricks – the 14 year-old William
Reay, co-founder of Errington Reay Pottery, was a labourer in their works. By 1861
he had become a fully fledged brick-maker and two manufacturers were operating –
presumably one either side of the Burn- Michael Matthews who employed 7 men and 8
boys and lived practically on site at Greenwell Cottage and the up-and-coming William
Hudspith who employed 20 men and was destined to become a major employer and Alderman.
Vic Fleming, has used a map of 1860 to produce a reconstruction of the “Brickworks
at the Bend”, during its heyday seen above.
Beside Beno’s Sandwich Bar in Westgate is a ceramic tree stump! Stamped on to it
is the inscription W. Hudspith South Tyne Works and, almost hidden round the side
is the date 186? And the initials T.B or T.R. Could this be Thomas Reay, pipe maker
and younger brother of William? These tree stumps can be found in gardensall around
Haltwhistle and feature in a number of photographs of the time. Owning one seems
to have been a bit of a status symbol. The clay industry continued to expand. William
Hudspith had an even larger brickworks built down beside the confluence of the Burn
and the Tyne and by 1881 he was employing 44 hands in the making of bricks, tiles
This photograph shows the chimneys of the South Tyne Brick Works looking across the
cottages at Town Foot towards the Alston Arches. The works were disused by the 1920s.
The Haltwhistle Burn project is keen to hear from any “stump owner” or owner of
other ceramic items stamped with “South Tyne Works” or “Hudspith” to get an idea
of the range of items being produced there. If you can help with this please use
the form on the contact page.