Adams Pict Firebrick Co Ltd, Scotswood on Tyne, Newcastle

(Note – SBH – I have added the Scottish tag here as although the bricks themselves were manufactured in Northumbria, the clay was mined in Scotland.)

During the First World War, (c1916) Adamsez Ltd, sanitary ware manufacturers, of Scotswood, Newcastle, diversified into the manufacture of firebricks under the name, Scotswood Furnace Company. It was operated as a subsidiary to W C Gibson and Co Ltd. When G H Ramsay and Co were taken over by Adamsez Ltd in 1923, refractory brick manufacture was moved to their premises at Swalwell. The business was then separated from W C Gibson and Co Ltd and became Adams Pict Firebrick Co Ltd.



Link – Letters to Adamsez concerning the Company’s search for a new source of fireclay, and analyses of samples of Ayrshire aluminous clays.
Minute of Agreement between Gavin Fullarton James of Kerelaw, Ayrshire and M J Adams on behalf of Adamsez Ltd, for a lease of the fireclay under the Kerelaw estate, for 25 years, including plan  DS/ADZ/47  24 May 1918.
23/01/1930 – Kilmarnock Herald – Reference to the employees of ‘Adams Fireclay Mines, Saltcoats’ donating monies to the Kilmarnock Infirmary. (£2 12s).

c. 1930 – c 1959 – Adam Pict Fireclay Company  – Border Quarry, Saltcoats – This company was based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  The quarry at Border Farm, Saltcoats worked a seam of bauxitic clays and was started in the 1930s. It continued after the 1939 – 1945 war, closing about 1959. – Source Kenneth Sanderson. The Scottish Refractory Industry. (Note – SBH – It is highly likely their bauxitic clay was sourced from the Ayrshire Bauxitic Clay Company).

10/05/1932 – Invoice – Adams ‘Pict’ Firebrick Co Ltd. Principal M J Adams. Firebrick works Swalwell on Tyne. Mineral areas – Scotswood on Tyne and Ayrshire NB.  Registered office Scotswood on Tyne. London Office – 23 Old Queen Street, Westminster. Telegrams – Sanifera.

1938 – Adams Pict Firebrick Co Ltd, Scotswood on Tyne; Mine name – Pict (Fire clay); Situation – Saltcoats; Manager – George Newlands; 2 employees below ground and 2 above ground.

1951 – Adams Pict Firebrick Co Ltd  Head Office: Scotswood, Newcastle Upon Tyne. T.A., “Sanifera, Newcastle-upon-Tyne”. T.N., Lemington 74185/7 (3 lines). Works: Swalwell, Co. Durham. T .N., Newcastle 87269. London Office: 54 Victoria Street, S.W.1. T.A., “Sanifera, Sowest, London”. T.N., Victoria 2172/3. Established in 1918.
Highly aluminous refractory firebricks, fire blocks and refractory cements. Trade Name: Pict.Managing Director: A. H. Adams. Secretary: F. Dale.

18/08/1952 – Newcastle Evening Chronicle – Bauxite boom in Ayr possible. Believed to be seeking permission to mine 73 acres of land in Ayrshire, a Newcastle firms enterprise may lead to a big expansion of bauxite clay mining in the district. The application is understood to have been made by the Adams Pict Firebrick Co Ltd, a subsidiary company of Adamsez Ltd, the Scotswood sanitary specialists. They have been mining Ayrshire bauxite fireclay for many years. The application is thought to have been passed on by Ayr County Council to the Department of Health, Scotland for advice. The land near Stevenson was originally scheduled for use as a housing site. A second English company has carried out satisfactory test borings on another site not far away. Some 5 acres of land may be worked there. Bauxitic fireclay is a hard aluminous rock, the top of the highly decomposed basic lava flows which form the millstone grit in the Northern Ayrshire coalfields. The grey rock is described as a perfect natural heat resistant. The main expansion is planned at Mayfield Farm on the outskirts of Stevenston. A bauxite mine has been in operation there for the last 3 years, its men extracting the clay, a hard rock-like substance, from some 700 feet underground. The tubs of ore are taken by road to Saltcoats and then by rail to Newcastle for processing. The 7 man labour force at the Mayfield Mine at present extracts nearly 100 tons of valuable ore each week. The mine foreman, 69-year-old James Auld said that his men often broke into the galleries of a forgotten network of long-abandoned coal mines believed to have been last worked in the 17th century. No one living has any knowledge of just how far the galleries extend. The bauxite clay is being worked some 5 or 6 feet under the coal mine galleries. Twice as thick as a man’s waist it still retains its black and yellow patterned skin, now a metallic layer around the rock core.

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