Seafield Brick and Tile Works, St Andrews

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Seafield Brick and Tile Works, St Andrews. Seafield Mains is located 3.5km WNW of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland.

12/08/1852– Stirling Observer – Highland Agricultural Show, Perth – Alexander Meldrum, St Andrews shared first prize with James McAlpine, brick and tile maker, Stirling for drain pipes.

12/08/1852 – Fife Herald – Prize drain tiles. Seafield Tile Work. Mr Meldrum has on hand a large stock, especially of 1 1/2″ pipes and collars which from their low price at the work and the reasonable rate of railway charges can be sent considerable distances at a moderate cost. As the specimens exhibited at the Highland Society’s Show were selected from the ordinary sale stock, purchasers can depend on getting a first rate article. Large pipes for ditches. Excellent common bricks and superior roof tiles. Kincaple by St Andrews 09/08/1852

01/08/1861 – Edinburgh Evening Courant – Highland and Agricultural Society Show at Perth –

Pipe or Tile Machine for hand or power, eight sovereigns, George Finlayson, Gighty Burn, Arbroath; …..

Tiles or pipes for field drainage. Two sovereigns – Christie & Son, Shore Road, Stirling. 2d. Bronze medal – Alexander Meldrum, Seafield Tile Works, St Andrews.

Glazed socketed pipes for sewerage, three sovereigns John Robson 47 Cook Street, Glasgow, 2d Bronze medal, Robert Brown, Ferguslie Fire clay Works, Paisley. Commended Edmonstone Coal Co, Dalkeith.

Feeding troughs for byres, One sovereign John Robson 47 Cook Street, Glasgow, 2d Bronze medal, Robert Brown, Ferguslie Fire clay Works, Paisley

Extra implements machines etc – Highly commended – Collection of vases, paving bricks, horse manger, pig trough and milk cooler – John Robson.

1862 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Strathkinness, St Andrews.

1867 – Alexander Meldrum – Brick and Tile Maker, Easter Kincaple, St Andrews.

1868 – George Blair, Brick and Tile Work, Seafield : Guardbridge, Cupar-Fife

1872 – George Blair, Brick and Tile Work, Seafield : Guardbridge, Cupar-Fife (Manager?)

1877 – David Blain Meldrum, Seafield Brick & Tile Works, by Cupar.

1878 – David Meldrum – Brickmaker, Easter Kincaple, St Andrews, Fifeshire.

1893 – 1896 – Seafield St Andrews – D.Boyne Meldrum Brick and Tile Works.

1942 – 1943 – Thomas Wilson & Son, Seafield brick and tileworks via St Andrews. Brick tile and pottery works, roof and drain tiles. Phone 627.

Below  – 1854 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Kincaple, St Andrews

Below – 1893 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Kincaple, St Andrews

1893 seafield brick and tile works kincaple

Below – 1912 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Kincaple, St Andrews

Below – 1938 – Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Kincaple, St Andrews

Below – 1944 – 1950 – Aerial Map Seafield Brick and Tile Works, Kincaple, St Andrews

Below- 08/08/1945 – Brick shortage. Methil Brick Company have been working half time for 3 years ( resource issues due to men at war). Possiblility of Kincaple Brick Works starting up?

Seafield Mains was originally a farm house with outbuildings, a steading and a bothy (a bothy was a dormitory with fireplace where the single bachelor farm workers lived).  The name is also linked to the Seafield Pottery, Brick and Tile Works which came in to use around 1850 and closed in 1940. Here at Seafield, Thomas Wilson Senior became a good friend of Tom Watson (of golf fame) and in a book written by Watson’s son, mention is made of the fact that while holding a discussion over field drainage pipes which were made on site, Watson decided that the drainage pipes themselves were the perfect size for a putting green hole and hence the current size of the holes in the ‘Old Course’.  The friendship between Watson and Wilson was strong. They also worked together with labourers and wives in Kincaple village wrapping golf balls.  The brickworks itself was located here on  Easter Kincaple in a field between Seafield Mains and the main A91 road into St Andrews.  It was sadly demolished around 1950. There were three significant local brickworks at that time, located at Seggie, Edenside, and Seafield.  Seggie was the earliest which was working in 1775.  Brick and tile making was a seasonal occupation much like farming therefore labourers worked on both the farm and the brickworks at certain times throughout the year.

In 1851 Alexander Meldrum of Kincaple employed 30 labourers.  Ten years later in 1861, his son David still employed 28 labourers and also ran the farm which was then made up of 400 acres.  One of the unique features of Seafield Brickworks was it’s ‘lye’ or flat-car narrow guage track similar to what would resemble a small train track and this was linked to the main railway line which was known as the North British Railway.  The hand propelled bogies (or mini carriages) were horse hauled over a long siding which crossed the main road and ran down to an exchange loading dock to meet the main railway line on the sea wall. The clay was dug in situ and Seafield had four kilns which were coal fired. The coal was brought by rail to the site either from Dundee or the Radernie pit at Peat Inn.  In its day, Seafield flourished like many other brickworks because of field drainage and other agriculture improvements brought in at that time.  The introduction of government grants for land improvements, and drainage in particular resulted in brickwork prosperity.

There were other popular items produced as well as the bricks and drainage pipes such as milk coolers, pots and bowls.  There were also one off unusual pieces discovered like a money box. Source 

Alexander Meldrum – Brick and Tile Maker, Seafield, St Andrews  – George Blair Manager (unknown date)


Flower Pot by Seafield Brickworks

Seafield flower pot


The following reference is for the Butter Wynd Pottery, Tayport, Fife – Sean and Christine Kingsley. Their contemporary country pottery is inspired by the traditional pottery of Britain, which was made using local clay and only a few other materials.

Sean digs clay from a location close to St Andrews, at the site of Seafield Pottery Brick and Tile Works. This is fairly unusual for potters to do this now. Once cleaned and prepared, it is made into lovely warm pots for the home; and Christine decorates some of them. Sean also makes garden pots, currently using a commercially mixed clay from Valentines. We are inspired by the old country potters and are interested in revisiting old ideas to see how they can be used today while keeping abreast of new ideas on sustainability. 
Below is a plate created from Clephanton Clay dug  up at Clephanton Farm, Anstruther

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