The ‘clay-pit zone’: brickfields and the townscape of nineteenth century London
Recorded on 7 December 2022
Speaker: Peter Hounsell (Independent)
In the first decade of the nineteenth century Henry Hunter described London as being surrounded by what he called a ‘clay-pit zone’, where, amongst other things, many millions of bricks were produced. These bricks contributed the basic material from which the rapidly growing city and its infrastructure was being constructed. Drawing on the research for his recently published Bricks of Victorian London Peter Hounsell will explore where the brickfields of the period were situated, how they operated and the different ways in which they interacted with the life of the capital. Finally, he will explain how during the course of the century the rising demand for bricks outgrew what could be produced on the city’s fringes pushing brickmaking further away to parts of west Middlesex, north Kent and southern Essex.
Dr Peter Hounsell is an independent researcher with an interest in nineteenth and early twentieth century London. He is the author of London’s Rubbish: Two centuries of dust, dirt and disease in the metropolis as well as books about the history of Ealing. He worked in public library services for nearly forty years and is a Fellow of the Historical Association and chair of its Ealing Branch.
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