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.

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.

04/12/1860 – 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

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)

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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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.

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

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

1878 advert William Brodie, Seafield Brickworks, Dunbar

Below – 1886 – Advert for MB Sherriff.

1886 brodie sherriff seafield dunbar westbank portobello

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

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 – Becuase 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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