Tyne and Wear HER(8493): Wideopen, Dinnington Colliery Brickworks - Details
Wideopen, Dinnington Colliery Brickworks
Brick and Tilemaking Site
Bricks were first made by the Seaton Burn Coal Company in 1908, near the Augusta mine. By 1922, the brickyard had a 26-chamber Belgian kiln, each chamber capable of holding 6500 bricks. In 1939, the dampers in the main flue of the kiln were renewed to improve the working rotation; previously a blowing fan had been necessary to cool off the bricks. The brickworks were taken over by Hartley Main Collieries in 1939, and in September of that year 266,000 bricks were made. Most were sold to outside customers with the remainder used in Dinnington and Seaton Burn collieries. Production was increased in 1950 by the conversion of the Belgian kiln to a top-fired Hoffman type kiln. Partition walls and firegates were removed to increase capacity to 8500. An electric fan was installed in the chimney to help draw out steam and gases. By the late 1950s, some 100,000 bricks a week were being produced, 80% of which were facing and rustic bricks. Shale was brought from local collieries, left to weather in a heap and then fed by conveyor belt to a primary crusher; from here the clay went into a hopper and was automatically fed into a Bradley and Craven grinding mill. There were two Bradley and craven brick machine presses, which made up to 3000 bricks an hour. They were the first machines in the area to use an electric element to heat the dies in the press instead of using live steam. The finished bricks were put on a conveyor and loaded into a waiting lorry, saving time by cutting out wheeling and stacking. After Dinnington Colliery closed in 1960 the brickworks only continued operating for a short time. Dates: 1922-1960 C20 Brickworks Source: Davison, P J, 1986. Brickworks of the North East, 41 site 13, 50.
P.J. Davison, 1986, Brickworks of the North East, p 41, site 13 and p 50