Smeaton Brick And Tile Works
- HER number: MEL8334
- Site Name: Smeaton Brick And Tile Works
- Grid Reference: 334883 669013
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Brickworks (19th Century, Post Medieval)
- Tile Works (19th Century, Post Medieval)
- Summary: Site of brick and tile works, 19th century
- Description: NT36NW 109 348 690
(1) (2) NT 348 690. The site of Smeaton brick and tile works was subject to a documentary study and limited excavations as part of the A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass. The works, known to have been in operation during the 19th century, are now only visible as cropmark traces on aerial photographic coverage. Documentary study indicated the considerable scale of production achieved by the works in the mid-19th century. Trenching located a series of building foundations with two internal kilns. Kiln 1 was rectangular in shape and survived as a series of fire- boxes with an internal loading chamber or gallery 4.80m wide (its length was not established), within a building measuring 16m by 12m. This building originally comprised a series of several courses of red brick and mortar above a substantial sandstone foundation c0.4m deep. Exterior floors of red brick were laid to form the stoking floors. Kiln 2, 5.80m wide, was enclosed within a rectangular building measuring 16.10m by 11.80m. The gallery of the kiln had an internal width of 3m with a mortared brick floor and fireboxes on the E and W walls. The stoking floor of this kiln was composed of sandstone flags. In addition, an ancillary coal store was identified; it appears to have been connected by a nearby tramway to the colliery at Smeaton Mains. Two large dumps of waster material were located and sampled to provide information on the range of products.
Sponsor: Roads Directorate of The Scottish Office Industry Department, managed on its behalf by Historic Scotland.
M Cressey 1995.
NMRS REPORT DATE: 22/02/2000
Location on GIS taken from OS 2nd edition map, 1895. ELCAS SL 19/04/2007
(3) The work undertaken on the Smeaton brick and tile work as part of the A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass was reported upon further (SAIR 44, 2009). The brickworks is described as being situated at the foot of a fluvioglacial terrace; clay was extracted from the base of the terrace and processed for brick and tile manufacture at Smeaton. An engineer's plan dating to c.1840 first depicts the brick and tile works and the brickworks and associated tram road are shown on the Ordnance Survey 1st Edition map. The two kilns, enclosure walls and drying sheds are visible on aerial photography. The brickworks lay on the Duke of Buccleugh's land, and utilised a machine invented by the Marquis of Tweeddale, for manufacturing clay tiles. The majority of manufacture at Smeaton appears to have been clay tile production, largely in response to the increasing requirements for land drains used in the improvement of agricultural land on Buccleugh's Estate. Documentary evidence suggests that the brickworks had closed by 1881.
Excavation revealed the presence of a widespread demolition layer comprising ash, kiln debris, brick and drainage pipe fragments. Under the demolition material, the remains of two square enclosures were identified, comprising lower wall courses enclosing firing doors where coal was loaded into fire boxes associated with each kiln. The kilns survived as kiln bases comprised of bricks resting a level bed of fire clay, which capped the kiln foundations, together with enclosing walls. Evidence for a line of flues was present, particularly on the northern wall of the first kiln. At least one flue was lined with mortar-bonded brick, with the bricks being stamped with 'Smeaton' , possibly evidence for earlier brick-manufacture at the site. A former clay pit was also found, infilled with blown brick and pipe wasters, confirming that it had been used as a dump was the requested clay had been extracted. A rectangular, brick and sandstone structure identified and excavated near to the kilns, was interpreted as an associated coal store, from which a large amount of in-situ coal was recovered.
The kilns are noted as being 'Scotch' kilns- one of the most common types of kiln in Scotland as they were relatively cheap to build and ran on solid fuel. Usually, these types of kiln were rectangular with opposing flues and produced bricks year-round. Smeaton is thought to have operated seasonally to limit the effects of frost damage on products. A range of drainage pipes and tiles appear to have been produced at the site, suggesting that the nearby farms, especially that of Newfarm, was experimenting with different land drainage techniques. Smeaton is typical of many early estate brickyards that came to prominence in the early 19th century but became obsolete was land became more improved and brock manufacture became industrialised and mechanised.
- For more information contact: MidLothian Council HER
- Related Interventions:
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- (1) Bibliographic reference: Cressey, M. 1995. 'Smeaton, near Dalkeith (Dalkeith parish), brick and tile works', Discovery Excav Scot 1995, p.55. 55.
- (2) Unpublished document: Cressey, M. 1995. Smeaton Brick and Tile Works, A68 Dalkeith Bypass, Midlothian District.
- (3) Article in serial: Cameron, K; Cressey, M; Duwell, A; Mitchell, S; Rees, A; Strachan, R and Suddaby, I. 2010. Excavations on the Route of the Dalkeith Northern Bypass, 1994-95 and 2006.