Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar, East Lothian

Canmore

Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar, East Lothian aka Belhaven Brickworks.

Noted on the OS maps and working throughout the period 1841-61. It was begun in the early 19th century by Bailie David France, continued and developed by William Brodie and passed to his daughter Marion Brodie Sherriff before closing in the 1890s. At the height of his powers, Brodie was renowned for his innovation and skill; his enterprise led the family firm into the management of a suite of brickworks including Aberlady in East Lothian. Source

1841 – Census – The following males were working as brick makers at the Seafield Brickworks, West Barns, Dunbar.

John Gray (30), David Mason (25) residing West Barns Gardeners house and David Janer? (49) residing West Barns Cottage.

1841 – Census – The following males were working as brick makers at the Seafield Brickworks, West Barns, Dunbar.

John Rea (40) and David Tugh (15), both tile makers.

08/08/1850 – Stirling Observer – Highland and Agricultural Society’s Grand Show in Glasgow – For the best machine for making drain tiles and pipes from clay, 5 sovs to William Brodie, Airdrie. (Note – SBH – The reference to Airdrie is confusing but I do believe this is William Brodie, Dunbar).

Below – 23/01/1851 – Falkirk Herald – Airdrie Great Exhibition.

Below – 1853 – Seafield Brickworks Dunbar.

OS Map 1853 - Seafield brickworks Dunbar

07/08/1854 – Caledonian Mercury – The Highland Society’s grand show at Berwick.

For the best machine for making drain tiles or pipes: 6 sovereigns to Wm Brodie, Seafield, Dunbar.

For the best set of tiles and pipes for field drainage: 1 sovereign to Wm Brodie, Seafield, Dunbar.

Below – 1856 – Illustrated Berwick Journal  – Advert – William Brodie, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar

brodie-seafield-dunbar

04/09/1858 – Aberdeen Herald – Highland Society Show – William Brodie, Seafield Tileworks, Dunbar exhibited articles in the ’tiles and pipes for field drainage’ section.

04/08/1859 – Edinburgh Evening Courant – Highland and Agricultural Society Show. Best ’tiles and pipes for field drainage 1. John Robson, Glasgow £2. Second – William Brodie Dunbar, bronze medal.

04/12/1860 – Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser – Launch at Banff – Launch at Banff.-On Tuesday last, there was launched from the building yard of Mr John Watson, a fine clipper smack of 37 tons register, ad which will class 7 years A 1 at Lloyds.  The vessel is named ‘The Brick’ Her length is 56 feet keel; breadth of beam, 16 feet; depth of hold, 7 feet.  She is expected to carry 70 tons ‘dead weight,’ and is intended to trade between Dunbar and London during the winter; carrying coals for Blackpots and Culloden Tile Works during the summer.  She is owned by Mr Wm. Brodie, brick and tile maker.  A considerable number of people collected to witness the launch of the vessel, which is no less creditable to the builder, that it promises to be remunerative to the owner,  The vessel is commanded by Captain Sheils.

Below – 1861  – Advert – Machinery for the making of drainage and roofing tiles. Improved pug mills, bruising rollers, screening and drain pipe and tile machines, patent roofing tile machines, and every other class of machinery suitable for drain tile and brickworks together with steam engines and agricultural machinery. Manufactured by William Brodie, Engineer, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar.

1861 advert william brodie seafield brickworks dunbar

10/05/1862 – The Berwickshire Advertiser – A supply of roofing tiles may now be had at Seafield Brick and Tile Works, near Dunbar.

06/03/1863  -Illustrated Berwick Journal – Marriages – At Belhaven, Dunbar, Feb 26, by the Rev Robert James Craig, Mr Thomas Sherriff, Glasgow to Marion, eldest daughter of Mr William Brodie, brick and tile manufacturer, Belhaven. (No cards).

05/08/1864 – Illustrated Berwick Journal – Severe gale. At Dunbar, on Sunday night, a tremendous gale commenced about ten o’clock and continued all night from the west. Upwards of fifty boats were by this time at sea, all to the east, intending to fish near St. Abb’s Head. Some of them succeeded in again making the harbour, but the great majority had either kept to sea or made for the Cove or Eyemouth. On Monday morning, about nine o’clock, five of the boats were seen rounding the Head, and much anxiety was felt for the safety of the others, but on Tuesday they were reported to be all safe. At twelve o’clock the schooner Williams, of Dunbar, laden with coal, belonging to Mr William Brodie, Belhaven Tile Works, in attempting to make the harbour, was caught by a severe gust and driven against the back of the pier, losing her bowsprit, which went to shivers, and damaged in the forefoot. Her stem was laid upon the rocks, and her stern in deep water. She was got off on Tuesday afternoon, slightly damaged.

Below – 02/02/1865 – Mr Brodie, Belhaven Brickworks (Seafield) and workmen involved in the rescue of a ship’s crew off the nearby coast.

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25/08/1865 – Illustrated Berwick Journal – At West Barns, Dunbar on 19th instant, William Brodie, son of Mr Brodie, Seafield Brickworks aged 23. Friends will please accept of this invitation.

24/10/1865 – Dundee Courier – To proprietors, builders and contractors – for sale – 300,000 dry stock bricks of very superior quality, can be forwarded by rail or shipped at Dunbar Harbour. For particulars apply to William Brodie, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, near Dunbar. October 1865.

30/03/1866 – Kelso Chronicle – Drainage Pipes of first-rate quality to be had at Seafield Brick and Tile Works near Dunbar. For particulars apply to Wm Brodie.

21/05/1866 – Invoice – William Brodie, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, near Dunbar.

Below – 1867 – Advert William Brodie, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar “let agriculture flourish”

william brodie seafield dunbar 1867

Below – 20/04/1868 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works receipt – William Brodie.

seafield-letterhead

10/10/1868 – Oban Times – Wreck of a Banff vessel.  ‘Peace and Plenty’ … The sloop was on her return voyage from Hamburg with a cargo of Oilcake for Aberdeen, having left Hamburg on 11th September … the sloop was first observed about 5 am on Friday when the sea was washing over her. The wreck lying below Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Mr Willam Brodie, of these works, and owner of the brickworks of Whitehills near Banff, along with other gentlemen, made attempts to reach the shipwreck on horseback but failed …

27/02/1872 – Shields Gazette – Built at Blyth – There was launched on Saturday from the shipbuilding yard the Co-operative Shipbuilding Company, Blyth, a very fine high-classed, wood twin screwed-steamer, built for Mr Wm. Brodie, of Battleblent, near Dunbar. Her dimensions are as follow:—Length, 127 ft 7in; breadth, 25ft 2in; depth of hold, 1ft 2″; register tonnage, 231 74 100.(?) She is intended for the coast trade. In order to enable her with safety go to dry harbours, she has been built unusually strong. The ship is calculated to carry above 300 tons of cargo, in addition to her machinery and coals for furnace consumption. Being the first screw steamer which has been built at Blyth, she has been the object of general interest during the whole course of her construction and we believe, that much satisfaction has been felt with her that the builders are about to lay down the keel for another steamer of similar size and structure for a shipowner at Newcastle. The vessel was christened the ‘Fire Brick’ by Miss M. Brodie, youngest daughter of Mr Brodie, as she glided into the sea amid the cheers of a large concourse of spectators. The vessel is to be propelled by compound engines, made the owner himself upon the most improved principles. Each engine is 30 horse-power nominal and is expected to work up to 200 horse-power effective upon a small consumption of coal. As soon as she is ready to leave Blyth, she will proceed to Dunbar to receive her engines and boiler, which are now nearly completed for fixing in the ship.

02/05/1873 – Invoice – William Brodie, Seafield Brick and Tile Works, near Dunbar.

04/07/1874 – The Scotsman – United East Lothian Agricultural Society’s Show, Haddington. William Brodie, Seafield Tileworks, Dunbar, bronze medal for pipes and tiles for field drainage.

Below – 20/11/1877 – Berwickshire News and General Advertiser – Marion Brodie or Sherriff takes over Seafield Brick and Tile Works following the death of her father.

Below – 1878 – Advert William Brodie, Seafield Brickworks, Dunbar.

1878 advert William Brodie, Seafield Brickworks, Dunbar

Below – 08/01/1878 – Banffshire Journal  – Alexander Brodie, Broxburn, Dunbar takes over Blackpots Brick and Tile Works from his late father, William Brodie.
20/02/1878 – The Scotsman – Extensive sale of engineers plant, iron shafts, timber at Seafield Brick and Tile Works near Dunbar. On Saturday 23rd Feb 1878 at 12 o’clock noon. List of article can be had on application. James Brand, auctioneer. Dunbar 18/02/1878

06/01/1880 – The Scotsman – The Tay Bridge catastrophe. Erroneous clerical statement by the Rev Dr Begg.

Seafield Brick and Tile Works, near Dunbar, Sir, —In your notice of pulpit references to the above calamity, the Rev. Dr Begg says — “We will build again; the bricks have fallen down, and we will
build with hewn stones.” From the official inspection by the members of the Court attending the inquiry, and such authorities as Mr Gilkes, Mr Waddell, and Mr Wilson, “the brickwork was ascertained to be perfectly intact in every pier, but on four of the piers, the stone coping was found to be a good deal damaged. In the case of the ninth pier, the heavy masses of stone have been
strewn about as if they had been sticks. As the bricks were supplied from here, and the majority of Scotch people being prejudiced against bricks, including Dr Begg who nails with scripture, your inserting this letter will greatly favour. — I am, &c. M Brodie Sherriff.

Below – 1886 – Advert for MB Sherriff.

1886 brodie sherriff seafield dunbar westbank portobello

06/08/1886 – The Berwickshire Advertiser – Annual show at Kelso. Exhibitors … Mr M Brodie Sheriff (Mrs M Brodie Sherriff), brick and tile and pottery maker, Dunbar and Portobello …

Below – 31/07/1886 – Alloa Advertiser – Brick manufacturing business for sale. Apply A. Brodie, Broxburn, Dunbar.

26/07/1889 – The Berwick Advertiser – Greenlaw small debt court. Messrs W. Brodie Sheriff, (M Brodie Sherriff) Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Dunbar sued John Monaghan, contractor, Duns for payment on an account of £3 8s 9d for pipes and on the motion of Mr Gibson, decree was granted with expenses.

Below – 1893 – The Seafield Brickworks only exist per an old kiln and waterlogged claypits.

22/12/1903 – Berwickshire News – The funeral of Mr John Frame, for many years manager of Seafield Brickworks, took place last Saturday to Portobello cemetery and was largely attended by East Lothian gentlemen.

31/12/1920 – Southern reporter dated 06/01/1921 – Deaths – At Battleblent, Dunbar on the 31st ult, Marion Brodie widow of Thomas Sherriff of Westbarns.

William Brodie took Seafield to new heights by innovating in both machinery and also scale: under the Brodies, it became the centre of a suite of brickworks scattered over Scotland. The Brodies also invested in their own shipping line.

The Fishermen’s Monument is a Grade B listed structure which stands in the south corner of the innermost basin of Dunbar Old Harbour. The monument was erected in 1856 by a local benefactor, William Brodie of Seafield.  It was dedicated to the fishermen of Dunbar and also housed a useful weather forecasting mercury barometer which was installed by Adie and Sons of Edinburgh.

Fishermans monument dunbar

David France “dubbed” the man who beat Canute by James Miller in 1830 – Because at Seafield Brickworks he erected an extensive sea dyke wall to hold back the waters of the Firth of Forth.

Bricks from Seafield brickworks were  shipped from Dunbar to the Tay Estuary in 1876 as they were used in the building of the Tay Bridge

Seafield Pond was once the clay pit for brickworks, built by Bailie France and later owned by William Brodie, who had both property and shipping interests in the town.

At one time the port at Dunbar had thirty trading craft, crewed by over 150 sailors, registered to it. There was a ship called ‘Firebrick’ and re-calls the trade in drainage pipes from the Seafield Brickworks at West Barns to Holland. The return cargo was red pantiles, which still roof many of the farm steadings around the town.

Extract from – Reminiscences and notices of ten parishes of the County of Haddington 1894 (page 124) … The late Bailie David France reclaimed from the sea a good portion of Belhaven Sands at Seafield and established a brick and tile work, which he left to Mr William Brodie in 1850, who carried on an extensive trade in bricks, drain and roofing tiles for many years. The clay below the sand is of first-rate quality. The work is now silent. Mr Brodie built a very unique mansion house at Westbarns which he named ” Battle Blent.” He was a man of great intelligence, scientific attainments, indomitable perseverance, and public spirit. He made his manufactory one of the largest -of the kind in the country. The quality of his bricks and tiles, owing to the use of superior machinery, was first-class. He was an eloquent lecturer on the abstruse science of biology, to which he devoted much study and attention. He was the means of getting a valuable barometer erected at Dunbar Harbour for the benefit of fishermen and seafaring folk, to which he contributed over forty pounds. A large agricultural implement manufactory has been long established at Westbarns. It was long carried on by the late Mr Thomas Sherriff, and latterly by his successors …

Seafield Brick & Tile Works (NT659783). Noted on the OS maps and working throughout the period 1841-61. It was begun in the early 19th century by Bailie David France, continued and developed by William Brodie and passed to his daughter Marion Brodie Sherriff before closing in the 1890s. At the height of his powers, Brodie was renowned for his innovation and skill; his enterprise led the family firm into the management of a suite of brickworks including Aberlady in East Lothian. source

 

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