Sunday, 24 December 2017

Sandholme brickworks

It is Christmas Eve and I have just tidied up the kitchen, fed the chickens with some old crusts and am looking forward to a busy day of cooking and wrapping. But I thought I would just complete this blog post which I began a few days ago.

I was recently asked about the history of the brickworks at Sandholme. It is now  a landfill site at the side of the M62 motorway..

 I thought I knew all about it as a friend's grandfather was the manager there but when I came to do a bit of research I ran into trouble. My information was that it opened around 1855 and stood on land allotted to the Saltmarshe family in the late 18th century when Bishopsoil Common was enclosed.

I have looked on old maps but cannot find anything until the 1890s and I also noticed that the land where it stood was allotted to Cotness. It seems that Philip Saltmarshe of Saltmarshe and Rev Philip Simpson of Metham, who owned Cotness, swapped some land in the 1860s.

Philip Saltmarshe, at some point, then decided that it would be useful and perhaps profitable to have his own brickworks to provide bricks  for the farms and houses on his estate at Saltmarshe, Laxton and Balkholme. There were already long established brickworks at nearby Newport and there was obviously suitable clay. However the site was a good distance from the Market Weighton canal which offered convenient water transport for heavy bricks and tiles for commercial sales.

But then the Hull and Barnsley railway line was built in the 1880s and conveniently passed adjacent to the site. Transport problems were solved at a stroke and sidings ran from Sandholme station into the brickworks. I wonder in fact whether there was a brickworks before the railway - further research needed.

Sandholme brickyard adjacent to the Hull and Barnsley railway

In 1901 the brickyard foreman was Jarvis Slater, originally from Eastrington and there were three other houses for workers on the site. In all there were five more brickyard labourers and one man who was the stationary engine driver living at the brickworks.

Meanwhile at Saltmarshe in the mid 1880s a new estate manager, John Biggs had been appointed.  He lived at Laxton and was responsible for the operation of the brickyard, in later years arriving there to pay the wages in a large car, an unusual sight at that time.

He employed a new brickyard foreman from Yaddlethorpe brickworks,  John William Clark.  John and his wife Ada and family lived on site but before the First World War  he moved to the brickworks at Crowle. However his cousin, Luther Clark, remained at the Sandholme brickworks.

He had married local girl Bertha Turner and they had two daughters, Bertha and Eva. He became the brickyard manager and remained part of Newport life for many years, being a stalwart of the chapel.

While researching the brickyard I was surprised to find that during the First World war there was an official work camp there for conscientious objectors. There was a barracks which was later converted into a house. As yet I know nothing further about it but more records are coming online all the time.

The brickworks was sold by the Saltmarshe estate and for a time was run by the White family from Eastrington. It finally closed, I think, in 1969.

And now it's time to leave local history and celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas to all who read my blog.


  1. My family lived in Brickyard House from 1963 to 1974, when the house was purchased to build the M62. Mr White collected our rent. I was 11 when we left x

  2. Just referred this article to someone i was taliking to on Linked in
    Then I realised that its you Susan. you were my history teacher at Howden School
    What a pleasant suprise

    Hope you are well
    Darren Grantham