Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen

The Northern Patent Brick & Tile Co. was a constituent company of the Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited. Keith, Harriman, & Watson, Northern Patent Brickworks opened for business in 1868 in a new works located at Pitmuxten in Ruthrieston in Aberdeen.
The clay became exhausted at the old site and in 1882 the company built a new works in Torry, south of the River Dee. This was in Kincardineshire at the time but the land was being bought up by the council and it became part of Aberdeen in 1891. It was incorporated as a limited company: The Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company Limited in 1882. The Seaton and Tile Company Limited also moved to Torry in 1882 and was operating “next door” on the same clay field. The Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited took over The Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company in 1890.
Since the brick is stamped Torry, it would most definitely be from the date 1882 onwards, manufactured in Torry, Aberdeen after operations ceased at Pitmuxten.  Source Gordon Pirie.
08/09/1858 – Aberdeen Press and Journal  – Highland and Agricultural Society’s Exhibition – Section LXXIX – Glazed socketed pipes for sewerage. Premium £1. William Keith jun, Aberdeen and John Robson, Glasgow – commended. (Note: so if Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company was not established until 1868, which company was William Keith within 1858?)

1867 – 1868 – Keith, Harriman & Watson, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen.

Below – 06/05/1868 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Keith, Harriman & Watson intimate they have almost completed their new patent kiln and will be ready to supply bricks by the end of April. (Note  – it seems the kiln was not complete by the end of April as this advert appeared in May albeit it was first written on 20/03/1868)

1868 – 1869 – Keith, Harriman & Watson Ruthrieston, Aberdeen.

Below – 12/05/1869 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Keith, Harriman & Watson advert.

1869 – 1870 – Maxwell Robert, foreman (Northern Patent Brickworks). South Mile-End Cottage, Pitmuxton.

1869 – 1870 –  Maxwell Robert, foreman (Northern Patent Brickworks). South Mile-End Cottage, Pitmuxton.

1871 – 1872 – Maxwell Robert, foreman (Northern Patent Brickworks). South Mile-End Cottage, Pitmuxton.

1877 –  Keith, Harriman & Watson, brick and tile makers, & dealers in fire bricks and sanitary pipes. Northern Patent Brick & Tile Works, Pitmuxton, and 187 King St, Aberdeen.

1878 – Keith, Harriman & Watson, Northern Patent Brickworks, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen.

1878 – 1879 – Keith, Harriman & Watson, Northern Patent Brickworks. Office 187 King St, Aberdeen.

Below – 24/01/1880 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Northern Patent Brick and Tile Work advert.

28/10/1881 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Drainage materials to landed proprietors, factors, farmers and others. The subscribers beg to intimate that they have a very large stock of all sizes of agricultural drain pipes on hand. These pipes are all 15 inches long and are of first-class quality. Having a siding within the works, they are in a position to despatch all orders on the shortest notice. Keith, Harriman & Watson, Northern Patent Brick and Tile Works. Office 187 King Street, Aberdeen.

1882 – 1883 – Keith, Harriman & Watson, brickmakers, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen.

1882 – 1883 -Keith, Harriman, & Watson, Northern Patent Brick and Tile Works; Pitmuxton, office 187 King Street.

1882 – 1883 – Peter Shand, Brick and Tile Works, Pixmuxton (Note – Is this reference connected to NP or different?)

Below – 01/11/1883 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – viewing of the new works at Torry.

13/11/1883 – Banffshire Journal – The Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company Limited beg to intimate that their new works at Torry are now in full operation and that they are in a position to supply every description of agricultural drainage materials and bricks of all various sizes. They also keep a large stock of fire bricks, fire plates, sewage pipes, vent linings &c. They have also to intimate that the Northern Agricultural Company have been appointed sole agents for the sale their goods to farmers and orders will be received and supplied by their representatives at all the Stations in the Great North of Scotland Railway and 187, King Street. Aberdeen, October 1888.

29/12/1883 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Town Council contracts – Tenders accepted for fire clay pipes – Northern Brick and Tile Company.

24/03/1884 – Greenock Telegraph – Northern Brick and Tile Company have declared a dividend of 5% equal to 10% for the year.

01/04/1884 – The Daily Free Press  – Northern  Brick and Tile Company – The annual meeting of the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company was held yesterday in the Bath Hotel, Aberdeen, Mr George Miller, chairman of the directors, presiding.  The report and statement of accounts, which have already appeared in our columns, were held as read.  The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, said-All interested in the Northern brick and Tile Company have reason to be satisfied at the result in the first years business, the appearance of the works, and their manufacturing capability.  The “callable up” capital of our Company is £15,000, £7500 was proposed to be called, all of which could have been allotted, but only £5553 has been paid, leaving £1947 to be held or issued to factors, architects, or builders who are likely to forward the interest of our Company or otherwise allotted to the present shareholders if additional capital is required.  The overdrawn bank account has been expended principally upon the cottages, an outlay not provided for, but which will be profitable to our Company, and convenient to those men whose duties require their constant attendance at the works.  Your directors have met in the city monthly, and frequently at the works since the incorporation of our Company, on 19th October 1882.  Early in November, the founds for kiln and chimney were laid being for stability in concrete.  The frost of December stopped building operations, but they were resumed in January 1883.  By the end of March the kiln was completed, but owing to boisterous weather the chimney was not finished till the end of April.  In June, brick and tile making was commended, and it continues well into November-in all about five months-but a month was practically lost through wet weather.  The sparred floor, measuring 138 feet by 60 feet placed over the kiln, will give large drying space for drain tiles, enabling the radiating heat to be utilised, and tile making to be carried on in winter.  During the past, limited season there were made 612,000 bricks, 359,000 various sized drain tiles, and 157,000 collars to suit. The mild winter induced a large demand for drain tiles, which necessitated purchases to supply pressing orders, which still continue, but which are not likely to occur again, machinery having been erected to make all sizes of pipes and solid, hollow, rounded, and circle bricks. The peculiar construction of the kiln burns those goods with great regularity, while the pressed bricks make a clean job, and, when combined with white bricks, very neat work, as may be seen at the cottages.  For the coming season, 6000 cubic yards of clay has bee dug out of the bank, tempered and weathered for brickmaking, one of the assets of the balance.  The suggestion made at the first annual meeting to erect houses on the upper road to Torry has, for sundry reasons, been postponed.  In place of those contemplated houses, the cottages referred to have been erected on waste ground and nearer the work.  My own special object, as I believe that of others, in becoming a partner of this Company, was, if possible, to assist in the erection of airy, well-drained, one, two, and three-apartment, cheap rented houses where families could live decently, and little children would not be huddled together, for it is evident that the efforts of sanitary and White cross Associations, pulpit and Sunday school teaching, are all greatly hindered by the present general housing of those who cannot earn large wages.  We have taken power to erect houses to rent and to sell.  It would require a large capital to build and rent. But when bricks get into stock, and a secondary street is opened in Torry, houses, as indicated, might be erected, as an outlet for bricks and profit would result from their erection.  If the houses were purchased by a sanitary association fair interest would be got for the investment, while the houses could be rented at low rates and superior privileges are given.  The vicious system of long credits that prevails in Aberdeenshire is not followed out by our Company.  Nevertheless, a debt loss of £9 has been made by an unfaithful creditor, and but for the energy of Mr Keith in having arrested at Glasgow an absconding debtor on his way to Sydney, other £25 would have been lost.  The smart payment of accounts demanded by our Company is objected to by some, but they err.  Long credits and over clemency is injurious to both creditor and debtor, leading to the temptation to absconding or fraud.  We may, therefore, calculate that while Mr Keith continues manager, without being oppressive, whatever profits are made will be divided among the share-holders-(applause).

Mr James Walker seconded the adoption of the report.  The shareholder felt very sensible that the directors had shown a vast amount of real ability in the organisation of the Company.  Much of the success of the Company was, no doubt, owing to the technical ability, power of organisation and work, and great deal and earnestness of Mr Keith, the managing director-(applause).  The first year’s labour was a happy augury for the future success of the Company.

The report was adopted.

On the motion of Mr Sievwright, seconded by Mr J. Collie Smith, Major Ross and Mr James Saint were re-elected as directors.

Mr G. G. Whyte, C.A., was the re-appointed auditor of the Company.

On the motion of Mr Saint, a vote of thanks was passed to the chairman, and the proceedings ended.

Below – 15/08/1884 – Aberdeen Free Press – Northern Patent Brickworks picnic.

01/12/1885 – Aberdeen Free Press –  Landed proprietors, factors, farmers and others. The subscribers beg to intimate that they have on hand a large stock of the various sizes of agricultural drain pipes. These pipes are all of first-class quality, well burned, and 15 inches long. For particulars, apply at the office,  187 King Street, Aberdeen; or to the agents of the Northern Agricultural Company, at the various stations. The Northern Patent Brick & Tile Coy., Limited, Works, Torry,

Below – 01/04/1885 – Aberdeen Free Press – Northern Brick annual meeting. Tho third annual meeting of the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company (Limited) was held yesterday in the Bath Hotel, Aberdeen, Mr George Miller, Sandilands, in the chair. Mr Butchart having read the notice calling the meeting. The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, said -The fleeting course of time has brought round the third annual meeting of our Company. Although but a portion of a practical year’s work was accomplished in the second year, a dividend of 5 per cent, was paid and 3 per cent, set aside as the commencement of a reserve fund, in order to bring the works to breaking-up value at the end of our lease. The result of the past year’s business enables a dividend of 10 per cent, to be paid upon the paid-up capital, all charges met, a sum of £200 to meet depreciation and preliminary expenses, and fully £84 set aside as an equalising dividend fund. Your directors have met monthly and visited the works regularly, finding them always in excellent condition; while the goods manufactured are evidently appreciated from the continued demand. Last year pipes were especially in request, this year it is bricks, indicating that stock of both will have to be kept on hand. The frost about the middle of November stopped brick making, and partly injured the stacked green bricks, but they were burned off, and have been useful as seconds. The small kiln has enabled a moderate supply of first-class bricks made over winter, and the large kiln will be at work early next month, thus enabling all orders to be met with despatch. The weathering and tempering of the clay adds considerably to cost but greatly improves the goods in standing pressure and the weather. It was intended to have issued shares to half the registered capital – viz, £7500 – and a number was specially reserved for builders and others who might desire to take a direct interest in our Company. The erection of the cottages, stable, sparred floor, hoist, riddle kiln, &c., are all outside the first estimate of cost, and have been paid in part by a bank loan. This loan will gradually get reduced by the reserve fund, or, if thought requisite, by issuing pro rata more shares, but this may be avoided by the continued economical management of Mr Keith. The system of short credit and no special discounts has enabled the business to be conducted during the past year free from had debts. It is expected that the goods made this year will be still farther improved, the bricks having smooth, straight edges and roughish beds, that hold the lime so much better than when smooth all over. All defects pointed out will be carefully considered and any form of brick will be made if a suitable time and number is given (applause). Mr Sievwright, in seconding the adoption of the report, pointed out that, in setting aside £200 to the reserve fund, it would in twenty years, at 5 per cent, interest, make capital of £8000, or double the sum required. While not finding fault with the directors in this setting aside so large a sum, be suggested the propriety of their considering the point for another year. The retiring directors, Mr Miller and Mr Rust were re-elected, and Mr G. G. Whyte, C.A., was reappointed auditor. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the chairman

1886 – Northern Patent Co Ltd. Brick and Tile Works. 20 Belmont Street, Aberdeen James S Butchart, Sec. 187 King Street, Aberdeen. William Keith, Manager. Works – Torry, Aberdeenshire.

27/03/1886 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Aberdeen and Northern Brick and Tile Company. The directors of this company have resolved to recommend a dividend on the years business of 10 per cent. (Note – SBH – I am not certain if this article relates to the Northern Patent Co Ltd but I have added it here meantime to ensure it is recorded).

21/01/1886 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Article on the Aberdeen locality … Torry – 5 Acres of the ground are now occupied by the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company – brickworks, be it noted, that are innocent alike of smoke and smell thanks to modern improvements in the manner of baking clay …

Below – 01/04/1886 – Aberdeen Free Press – Northern Brick annual meeting.

Below – 08/04/1886 – Aberdeen Free Press – Northern Patent Brick Company advert. Agents Northern Agricultural Company.

10/05/1886 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Opening of the new boathouse – Aberdeen Gymnastic and rowing club … It is built entirely of patent red brick with fire brick cornice and bands manufactured by the Northern Brick and Tile Co …

Below – 13/04/1887 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Conflict of interest?

Below – 17/05/1887 – The Aberdeen Journal – Northern Brick annual meeting.

10/09/1887 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – For sale  – Shares in the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company – Offers 570 Journal Street.

Below – 05/05/1888 – Aberdeen Press and Journal. The Pitmuxton drowning case. Two girls drowned in a flooded clay pit hole formerly occupied by William Keith Jnr’s Brickworks.

Below – 25/07/1888 – Aberdeen Press and Journal  – Northern Brick annual meeting.

27/07/1888 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Northern  Brick and Tile Company – We are desired to mention that at the usual meeting of the directors of the Seaton Brick and Tile Company held yesterday – Bailie Mearns presiding, in the absence of Mr R.G. Wilson – the statements made in regard to that company by the managers of the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company at the annual meeting on Tuesday were characterised as inaccurate and misleading.

29/05/1889 – Aberdeen Evening Express – A meeting of the Northern  Brick and Tile Company was held in the Bath Hotel this afternoon – Mr J Smith, Draper presiding. The report and balance sheet were read and approved of. As the revenue account, however, showed a deficiency, a committee was appointed to inquire along with the directors into the matter and the meeting was adjourned for a fortnight.

Below – 05/07/1889 – Aberdeen Press and Journal  – Manager wanted due to the resignation of Mr Keith.

Below – 06/08/1889 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Northern Brick and Tile Company and Seaton Brick and Tile Company amalgamate.

10/08/1889 – Aberdeen Peoples Journal – Amalgamation of brick and tile companies. At an extraordinary general meeting of the Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company Limited held on Monday, it was unanimously agreed to effect an amalgamation with the Seaton Brick and Tile Company. The shareholders of the later Company have approved this arrangement and the former concern will now be wound up voluntarily, Mr J S Butchart, advocate having been appointed liquidator. The capital of the Seaton Company will now be increased from £18,000 divided into 12,000 shares of £1 10s each to £22,000 divided in 15,000 shares of £1 10s each.

Below – 30/08/1889 – Aberdeen Free Press – Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company is transferred into the business of the Seaton Brick and Tile Company. William Keith Jun, King Street does not now act for either company.

Below – 04/06/1890 – Aberdeen Evening Press – Northern Patent Brick and Tile Company liquidation report.

Below – 12/12/1895 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Northern Patent Brick & Tile Works chimney felled.

Below – 13/02/1903 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – The death of Willam Keith Jun 12/02/1903

16/07/1926 – AberdeenPress and Journal … Then, many persons will remember the fancy chimney-stalk of the “Northern” Brick and Tile Works at Pitmuxton, not far from the Bridge of Dee …

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