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Bursledon Brickworks Museum

Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, often shortened to Bursledon Brickworks is a volunteer-run brickworks museum based in the village of Swanwick, Hampshire, England. It is thought to be the last Victorian steam-driven brickworks left in the UK.[3][4]

Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
Bursledon Brickworks Chimney.jpg
Former namesHooper & Ashby (1897–1903)
The Bursledon Brick Co. Limited (1903–1959)
The Sussex & Dorking Brick Company (year unknown)
Redland Holdings Ltd. (1959–1974)
Bursledon Brickworks Conservation Centre (1995/96–2000s)
Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum (2012–2017)
The Brickworks Museum (2017–)
General information
Architectural styleVictorian
LocationSwanwick, Hampshire, England
AddressCoal Park Lane / Swanwick Lane
Town or citySouthampton
Coordinates50°53′09″N 1°17′27″W / 50.8858°N 1.2908°W / 50.8858; -1.2908Coordinates: 50°53′09″N 1°17′27″W / 50.8858°N 1.2908°W / 50.8858; -1.2908
Elevation11 metres
OwnerHampshire Buildings Preservation Trust
Technical details
Floor count2
Awards and prizesSolent Protection Society 2004 Conservation Award[1]
Tourism South East / Beautiful South Business Awards: Best Community Tourism Business 2014[2]
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year (Bronze) 2014, 2017 (Silver)
IMECH Industrial Heritage Award
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2015, 2016
Fareham In Bloom: Business Parks and Commercial Landscape (Silver) 2018
Wildlife Garden (Silver Gilt) 2018

The brick kiln, chimney, drying sheds, and the boiler and engine house at the south section of the brickworks are listed Grade II* as a group on the National Heritage List for England.[5]



Edward HooperEdit

Bursledon Brickworks started out in 1897 as Hooper & Ashby, a Southampton-based builders' merchants, who also made bricks. The company was co-founded by the Ashby's and the Hooper's two separate Quaker families, both hailing from the town of Staines in Middlesex (now part of the county of Surrey). Edward Hooper, who moved to Southampton at the age of 26 was a civil engineer and architect. In the 1851 census records, Edward is described as being both an engineer and a brick maker. He takes out a lease on Baltic Wharf in Chapel Road. It is here that Edward sets up a business as a builders' merchant and a manufacturer trading in slate. This is followed by the expansion of his business, when he takes out a lease on a second building, American Wharf, nine-years later.[6]

Hooper & AshbyEdit

In 1903, Hooper & Ashby changed its name to The Bursledon Brick Co. Limited or (B.B.C. Ltd.), this coincided with the extension of the southern complex with the addition of the northern complex. This was further extended in 1935. With the extra capacity, the brickworks was producing in excess of 20 million bricks a year. They were one of the main producers of bricks in the region.[7] Most of the original machinery was moved to the Swanwick site from Chandler's Ford.


On 20 March, Bursledon Brickworks F.C. beat North Warnborough 4–1 in the semi-finals of the 1926 Hants Junior Cup.[8] The cricket team, Lower Swanwick B.C.C. won the Sarisbury and District Cricket League Division 2 championship shield.

Post-war periodEdit

After the Second World War, the family business was amalgamated with the Sussex and Dorking Brick Company and in 1959 became Redland Holdings Ltd.

Closure of the brickworksEdit

The brickworks finally closed in 1974, and the site was later saved from demolition by the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust. The south section of Bursledon Brickworks which houses the brick kiln, chimney, drying sheds, boiler and engine house are Grade II* listed.[9] The north section was demolished and the land was acquired by the National Air Traffic Services. NATS operate the London Area Control Centre and London Terminal Control Centre. As site owners, they have provided funding for the Swanwick Lakes Wildlife Reserve project managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.[10]

Charity statusEdit

The Bursledon Brickworks Trust which ran from July 1997 – February 2007 was replaced by the Bursledon Brickworks Museum Trust in November 2016.[11]

As a museumEdit

In 2012, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted the museum funding of £666,300[12] to open up the first floor of the building, create two more education spaces and employ some paid staff. Project manager Carolyne Haynes said: “We’re always under threat, in that it’s a big building that’s permanently trying to fall down and we’re permanently trying to keep it open, running it with volunteers. The most important thing about this money is we’ll be able to pay some staff to make sure we can open three days a week – that will give us a regular opening time.

“The place deserves to be recognised nationally and this is a big first step towards that.”

The grant will also help pay for improved disabled access for the museum, in Coal Park Lane, Swanwick.

Head of the South-East’s Heritage Lottery Fund, Stuart McLeod, said: “Our industrial heritage is something we should be hugely proud of – it helped build the world we live in today. Bursledon Brickworks is the perfect example of this and an incredible survivor of its time.”


At the heart of the museum, and the heart of the collection, is the original brick making machinery, steam engine and related smaller equipment, such as barrows, shovels and wagons, once used at Bursledon Brickworks. The steam engine and machinery were restored about 20 years ago and are operated on special events.[13][14]

Entrance to and from the siteEdit

Coal Park Lane entrance in February 2017

The brickworks has two entrances to the site, the first on Swanwick Lane. This entrance is used by the general public and has a car park. This is also where coaches drop off passengers (group visits) and the rear entrance on Coal Park Lane. The Coal Park Lane entrance is mainly used by the staff and/or volunteers based at the site, and is where deliveries are overseen.

Radio and televisionEdit

Back in July 2015, BBC Radio Solent presenter Nick Girdler visited the brickworks. Here he oversaw the unveiling of a new brick sculpture, affectionately known as the Twisted Shard. The structure which took 5 months to build was designed by local brick lecturer and artist Joe Taylor from Woolston, Southampton, in partnership with Michelmersh Brick Holdings. He enlisted the help of some of his Southampton City College students to aid in the construction of the Twisted Shard.[15][16][17] Later that same year, the brickworks was featured in the last five minutes of the BBC's – VE Day: First Days of Peace documentary.[18]

In January 2017, a five-minute segment on Bursledon Brickworks featured on Series 14: Episode 6 of the BBC One television programme Antiques Road Trip.[19] A month later, the museum welcomed wine connoisseur Peter Richards from Saturday Kitchen.[20]


  1. ^ "Conservation Awards". Solent Protection Society. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Top tourist attractions sweep to victory at industry awards ceremony". Daily Echo. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ Info, Webmaster. "Bursledon Brickworks". Fareham Borough Council. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  4. ^ "ERIH: Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum". Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  5. ^ Historic England, "Brick kiln, chimney, drying sheds, boiler and engine house at Bursledon Brickworks (1233725)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 11 March 2018
  6. ^ THE BRICKWORKS MUSEUM AT BURSLEDON A HISTORY AND GUIDE. Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust.
  7. ^ "The History". Bursledon Brickworks. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  8. ^ Pitcher, Anne. "North Warnborough F.C. 1895-1995 (A Centenary Tribute by Anne Pitcher MBA)". North Warnborough F.C. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Swanwick Lakes Wildlife Reserve". Fareham Borough Council. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  11. ^ "BURSLEDON BRICKWORKS MUSEUM TRUST". Charity Commission. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  12. ^ Phillips, Bethan (18 October 2012). "Bursledon Brickworks £666,000 lottery bonanza". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Collections". Bursledon Brickworks. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  14. ^ Houghton, Anthony. "Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum". Strolling Guides. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Brickie's artwork to be unveiled at festival". Southern Daily Echo. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  16. ^ "The Twisted Shard a multi-sensory brick design". Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Projects". J Taylor Brickwork & Building Contractors. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  18. ^ Bursledon Brickworks [@BursledonBrickW] (14 May 2015). "Bursledon Brickworks on Twitter: We are in the last five minutes of BBC - VE day #ManorFarmCP and #MilestonesHCT" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Venue Hire". The Brickworks Industrial Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  20. ^ Peter Richards MW [@wineschools] (4 February 2017). "On today's @SaturdayKitchen I get excited about bricks. And wine" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External linksEdit