​Brick Making and Quarrying


Although there are physical indications of the use of brick in eighteenth century Blackburn, primarily in the Saint John's and King Street areas, the industry did not really become significant until after the repeal of the brick tax in 1851.  Mid-nineteenth century brickmakers mainly operated from temporary sites, using brick fields where clay was available, and where building projects were underway.  Notable examples include the Griffin and Livesey districts, where many of the buildings, both industrial and domestic, reveal an extensive use of brick, and in the Audley and Accrington Road areas.  More permanent sites were established in the last twenty five years of the nineteenth century, at Audley, Royshaw's Mill Hill and Grimshaw Park, often using brick shale from sandstone quarries.
A different form of extraction was practised at Livesey, Cunliffe and Whitebirk where exhausted coal shafts were used to win fire clay. Brickmaking in Blackburn declined after the Second World War as the shale and clay resources ran out, and the industry was extinct by 1970.  The physical remains of the trade are almost non-existent, with the majority of the sites having been landscaped or redeveloped for residential use.
by Mike Rothwell