Thursday, 30 April 2009


A few years ago, around the Higher Doles area I found some of the old bricks which had been manufactured at Grane Brickworks at the turn of 19th Century and have posted a photo here (click on photo to enlarge)... the bricks are probably still there. Here are some old notes on the opening of the brickworks in 1895:

(Taken from the Haslingden Guardian Sat Sept 28th 1895)

Mr. J. H. Maden, M.P. for the Rossendale division, christened two engines of the new Haslingden Grane Brick and Terracotta Company, and act the same in motion on Saturday last. One engine was named Alice after Mr. Maden’s wife, and the other was called Maud, after Mr. John Haworth’s daughter. Mr Maden subsequently shovelled about a dozen spadefulls of shale into the mixing pan, and took out the first bricks made. The ceremony was witnessed by the Directors and their wives. Mr. Foster of Clayton-le-Moors is the organizer of the Company, and Mr. Maden is also one of the Directors.
The Project was first mooted by Mr. Thomas Foster of Clayton-le-Moors. It is about a year ago since he rented the land, knowing its value at that time by reason of the shale thereon. His experience as Director in other concerns had served him well in this instance. A Company was formed to work the place, the Capital being £8,000. The Company were fortunate to secure the advantages of the services of Mr. John Smith whose long experience under his father in Holland’s Brickworks, Accrington is of the greatest utility. He has become Managing Director of the Company. Mr. Maden M.P. is also a Director. The Chairman of the Company is Mr. John Haworth of Accrington.
The Cutting of the first sod was performed on the 11th May last. There was no public ceremony but it may prove to be a first step in the starting of a new and most successful endeavour. The situation chosen for the works is some distance above Grane Church, and a addition to the working population of Grane, would be greatly welcomed. The extent of the ground to be worked is 1 1/3rd Acres, but the company have secured the rights to shale for a radius of 4 miles of their present works. The shale is of a very fine nature and from it a superior brick and terra cotta is to be manufactured.
The present works consist of a boiler house, engine house, machine house, and grinding house. They are erected in red brick, and are easily accessible, facing the turnpike. The boiler is 37ft by 7ft. No.1 Grinding mill is 9ft in diameter. The engines which can be worked up to 90 horse power, are by Bellhouse of Manchester. The machinery is of the latest patent and is applied by Messrs. C. Whittaker & Co. of Accrington. It is expected as the works now stand, a turn out of 500 bricks a hour can be effected. There is now only one machine, but other four are expected. Mr. Bolton, the owner of the Haslingden Grane Quarries had promised to give the company facilities by connecting the works with his railway siding. Of course the hands now employed are few in number, but they are soon expected to be reckoned by the score.
Mr. Maden, M.P., in company with his steward, Mr. Mr. Hargreaves, made an early arrival, and made a thorough inspection of the place, asking numerous questions and taking the greatest interest in all details. The Directors, their wives and friends arrived somewhat later. The company included Messrs. John Haworth, Chairman of the Company, Accrington; Thomas Foster, Clayton-le-Moors; William Myers Hall, James Lund, Taylor Crawshaw and Adam Shaw (Haslingden). Among the ladies were, Mrs. Haworth, Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Smith.
Mr. John Smith, the Managing Director, having placed wine in readiness for the baptizing of the engines, said the Directors thought something should be done to celebrate the event of that day, and it was unanimously decided that they should ask Mr. Maden to perform the ceremony of christening the engines.
Mr. Maden amidst the applause of the company, then turned on the steam and set the engines in motion, and christened them as stated.
Mr. Smith then took the company to the grinding house, and called upon Mr. Maden to put in the first spadeful of shale. Mr. Maden, handling the shovel in a workmanlike, put in a dozen or more spadefuls of Shale.
The directors followed suit, and each of the ladies took a turn.
The first bricks were subsequently made.
Mr. John Ashworth said it gave him much pleasure to accord Mr. Maden the best thanks of the company for his attendance and for the performance of the interesting ceremonies of that day. He seemed to be so homely and to shape so well at work, that he was more like a practical working man than an M.P. He hoped the firm would prosper from that day forth, if it were only for the sake of the ladies, for if it did not they would be down on to them “like a thousand bricks” (laughter). It afforded him much pleasure to move a vote of thanks to Mr. Maden (applause)
Mr. Smith seconded, and remarked that at one time they thought they would not be able to get Mr. Maden , as he had been suffering from a cold, and had been under medical treatment. He was glad to see him better and there that day (applause). He (Mr Smith) hoped the works would prove a great success, and a benefit to the landlord and the people of the neighbourhood. He hoped that in time Mr. Maden would see his way to put up a good brick works and that there would be more and more employment brought to that place. Their best thanks were due to Mr. Maden for his attendance and the honour of his services that day (Applause).
The vote having been presented –
Mr. Maden M.P., said he was much obliged for their vote of thanks. He had learned something coming up there, and he was very glad to see there was energy being put forth to help to bring more employment to that benighted quarter of Grane. Mr. Smith had referred to him as being the landlord. But he only represented the real owners, for aunts and cousins of his owned the land. However, he was sure that they would only be too glad to help in fostering a industry and bringing more employment to the people of that district. He should be glad to do anything he could at anytime, and he hoped the concern would prove a great success and would be extended from time to time. He thanked them for their vote (applause).
Mr. Smith pointed out that the machine was one of the finest at present made and that the pressure they would be able to bring to bear upon the bricks, from 60 to 120 tons, would made them the hardest and most useful turned out of any factory.
This concluded the proceedings at the Works.
The Mayor of Haslingden has given the Company an order for 100,000 bricks.
(Thanks to John Simpson of Helmshore, who kindly provided the above factual information, and also for supplying the undermentioned photo.