Researching through the old newspapers there are several references to brickworks being located in the South Leith Links area of Edinburgh around the late 18th century. The locations are often vague and difficult to pinpoint. All such references are detailed below. It is appreciated they may not all refer to the exact same location. Indeed…
Seaton Brick & Tile Co. Limited, Strabathie; Torry; Plaidy; Turriff & Esslemont, Ellon, Aberdeen – To be read in conjunction with the Old Aberdeen brick kilns, Aberdeen
With special thanks to Ed Fowler, Doric Columns for permissions to refer to his notations.
Seaton Brick and Tile Works – The site of this brick and tile works lies in an area now occupied by modern multi-storey housing.
The oldest established and most important brickwork in the district in the early twentieth century was the Seaton Brick and Tile Company, which was based at Strabathie, near the Black Dog. The Company appears to have been inaugurated in August 1898, about 3 1/2 miles from the New Bridge of Don on the Ellon turnpike. Aberdeen city’s brickworks had already developed in the 18th century when brick-making was based at Clayhills, north of the Dee River, and at Seaton in Old Aberdeen. There was a brickworks run by Mr Alexander Smith in 1773, but it is not on Milne’s 1789 map, indicating that it was a short-lived business. The Seaton works, which were run by Alexander Annand & Company, do figure on Taylor’s map from 1773, and there was apparently a second little-known brickworks in Seaton too.
The Seaton Company was evidently a large one as they had 2 brickworks at Torry – Plaidy and Esslemont – and one at Dryleys, Montrose.
The company expanded first to Torry in 1883 but moved to Strabathie when the clay at Torry was exhausted. At that point, other establishments were given up to concentrate on Strabathie. In 1903 Mr Alexander Smith managed the company, with the support of foreman Mr John Grant. Circa 100 people were employed at Strabathie, which could turn out 5 million bricks, 1,750,000 drainpipes and various other items annually. The company constructed a special light railway about 3-1/2 miles long to take bricks from Strabathie to their depot at the Bridge of Don, using some adapted old horse tramway cars. The company lasted a good 20 years until the clay gave out.
Brick making became a successful business and in the 19th century more brickworks sprang up in and around Aberdeen: Torry Brickworks Company (ca.1849-1876), Northern Patent Brick and Tile Works, Pitmuxton (ca.1867-1883) which moved to Torry and carried on till 1890. There was also the Esslemont Brick and Tile Company; Gray & Marr at Ellon; Fyvie family-run Turriff based drainpipe manufacturers; Peter Mortimer & Company and Kennow at Huntly and a tileworks in Logie Buchan. This was when Annand & Company at Old Seaton was changed into Seaton Brick & Tile Company. Sometime before 1803 George Allan took over from Robert Cay (mentioned in 1778 as the tenant of Annand).
When the Seaton Brick and Tile Company went into liquidation in 1924, Murcar Golf Club bought out the railway and ran it as a very successful transport venture to the club until 1949. By this time the motorcar was becoming more prevalent and public transport.
The lower part of Powis Burn is called the Tile Burn, near Seaton Brick and Tile Works it was crossed by the Tile Ford, which was on the road from the Brickwork to the Sand Hills at the sea-side, where the sand required in brick-making was procured. A wooden bridge has now taken the place of the ford.
The red laminated clay at Seaton Brick Work is derived from the old red sandstone beds that once existed, on a larger scale than they do now, between the Dee and the Don on the site of the city. In the glacial epoch, the snow sheet entering the sea between the rivers abraded and carried off the soft red rocks. As it entered the sea it melted, and its burden of debris was taken in hand by the waves. Big boulders and large stones had been left where they fell out of the melting Ice; small stones had been rolled backwards and forwards at the edge of the sea till worn to pebbles and sand; the sand from the rough clay licked up by the ice had been well washed and deposited in layers on a sloping beach; and the washings, fine pure clay, had been carried out into deep water, where it sank when the tide was at rest at high and low water. When the tide was running fast, flowing or ebbing, the light clay did not get time to fall, but only a little heavy sand. Eight layers had been laid down every day, 4 of clay when the tide was standing still alternating with 4 of sand when it was running north or south. When a spadeful of this clay is dug out of a bed and dries in the sun it splits up at the sandy layers into thin leaves or laminate … Since its deposition, the land had risen far enough to raise the clay beds above the sea, though in some clay pits the laminated clay goes down below sea level.
Below – 07/11/1763 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – To be sold by private bargain, betwixt and the first day of December next, The Riggs of land extending from the East side of the Town Old Aberdeen to the Tile Burn, with the clay pits, tile kiln, houses, shades and whole utensils of the brick and tilework belonging to Alexander Annand and Company in Aberdeen. Also a tack, current for fifteen years to come, of an inclosure in the Lands of Spital, hard by the said brickwork. The purchaser, if he inclines, may have the horses, carts, etc. and the whole stock of bricks and tiles upon hand, at apprised value. If the premises are not sold against that time the said land and brickwork will set in tack either together or separately. Anyone inclining to bargain for the above may apply to the said Alexander Annand, or to Thomas Skeen Merchant in Old Aberdeen, and the writs and titles will be shown by George Moir of Scotstown at Aberdeen. If the premises are not then folded nor set in tack, the brick and tile work will be carried on as usual by the Company, and in the meantime, they continue to sell their bricks and tiles, with which their customers can depend upon being supplied on the best terms.
04/05/1767 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – That the brick and tyle work of Seaton near Aberdeen with the arable and pasture ground belonging thereto, as possessed by Robert Walker, is to be let for as many years, from Martinmas next, as is agreed on. For particulars apply to George Middleton Esq, the proprietor or to John Still, merchant in Aberdeen.
21/03/1781 – Caledonian Mercury – Seaton Parks to be sold – Upon Wednesday the 9th day of May next, there will be exposed to public roup and sale, within the house of Joseph Mitchell vinter in Aberdeen, at four o’clock afternoon, the East Lot and Inclosures of the Lands of Seaton, with the Brick and Tyle Work thereon, belonging to the heirs of the late Lady Diana Middleton of Seaton, lying within the parish of Old Aberdeen, and county of Aberdeen, and upon the east side of the high road leading from Old Aberdeen to the Bridge of Don, consisting altogether of about 108 Scots acres, arable and pasture. In the case of no offerers for the whole of these lands in one lot, they will be subdivided, and immediately exposed to sale in four several lots. Lot 1. will comprehend the Brick Kilns and Square Park. Lot 11. the Burnt-rigs and Fountainbean Parks. Lot 111 the Bank and Drum Parks and Lot IV. Hervie’s Croft and the Houses on the Hill-head with the feu-duty payable by the inheritors of Nether Don for their salmon cellars-as the said Lots will be more particularly described and laid down upon a plan to be shown for that purpose. These lands are very pleasantly situated, and command a very fine prospect and, from their vicinity to the town of Aberdeen, and their lying along the aforesaid high road, and near the mouth of the river Don, they are capable of considerable improvements in various respects. At the same time, there will be exposed to sale a tenement of foreland in the Gallowgate of Aberdeen, presently possessed by Mr Mosley silk-dresser. The progress of writs, articles of roup, and a plan and particular rental of the aforesaid lands of Seaton, are to be seen in the hands of Dr William Thom advocate in Aberdeen; and copies of the articles and rental in the hands of Mr William Tysler, writer to the signet, Edinburgh; to either of whom application may be made for information in regard to the upset prices and any other particulars.
27/04/1803 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Bricks and tiles – The advance price of labour and every kind of material renders it necessary for the makers of brick and tile in New and Old Aberdeen, to make a small rise on their prices, which in future will be – Bricks per 1000 deliverable in Aberdeen £1 10s and tiles per 1000 deliverable in Aberdeen £3 15s.
Below – c. 1809 – c. 1821 – Seaton Brickworks – Mr Allan.
1837 – Alexander Nicol – Brick and Tile Maker, Wellington Street, Aberdeen. Page 181.
04/06/1851 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Lands of Brickfield near Aberdeen for sale. Upon Friday the 18th day of July next, there will be exposed for sale, by public roup, at two o’clock afternoon, within the office of Alex & John Webster, Advocates, in virtue of the powers contained in a bond and disposition in security. That piece of ground called Brickfield, lying on the East side of the road leading from Aberdeen to the Bridge of Don; bounded by the road leading from the Brick kilns to Old Aberdeen on the North; by the land belonging to Mr Leslie of Powis on the South; by the Tyleburn on the East; and by the land belonging to the Merchant Society of Old Aberdeen, and others, on the West. For farther particulars, an application may be made to Messrs Webster. King Street, Aberdeen, 13th May 1851. (Note – SBH – I am uncertain if this article relates to land at the Old Brick Kilns or the Seaton Brick and Tile Works.)
04/08/1852 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Royal Northern Agricultural Society – From The Seaton Works, Old Aberdeen, were bricks, tiles, drain pipes, chimney cans, flower pots &c – articles highly accreditable to that establishment. (Note – SBH – This may relate to the Seaton Brick and Tile Works?)
1853 – 1854 – Peter Burr, Manager, Seaton Brick and Tile Works, Aberdeen.
21/03/1864 – Invoice – The Seaton Brick and Tile Company. Works at Old Aberdeen. Office 39 Marischal Street, Aberdeen.
1865 – 1871 – ScotlandsPlaces – An extensive manufactory for the making of bricks and tiles. The property of Mr Nicol, 37 Albyne Place, Aberdeen.
1867 – Seaton Brickwork Co – Manufacturers of bricks, tile, drainage pipes and fire clay goods. Depot Guild Street, Aberdeen. William Christie, manager.
Below – 1869 – Seaton Brick and Tile Works.
01/12/1874 – Price list – Small folded card detailing the price of some products manufactured at The Seaton Brick and Tile Works. Alexander Christie, manager. Office 39 Marischal Street, Aberdeen and the depot in Guild Street. Also, agents for Foxley’s patent beaded bricks for garden walls and Jennings patent sewerage pipes.
1877 – Seaton Brick & Tile Works. Depot Guild Street, Aberdeen. Office 39 Marischal Street. Alexander Little and Co, Managers. It was made at the Seaton Brick and Tile Company, which was founded in the 18th century, probably by Alexander Annand. His brickworks appear on Taylor’s map of 1773.
When the factory came on the market in 1778 it was described as ‘a field of seven acres, on the east side of Old Aberdeen, extending from the Gaws or Channel upon the west of the Tyle-burn on the east, including the Clay-pits and ground, with dwelling house, offices, barn, stable, kiln and mill’.
– A good-quality seam of clay under the Seaton area attracted both brick and tile works to the area and also the Seaton Pottery, the most northerly industrial Pottery, which opened in 1868 and closed in 1964.
1878 – Siton (Seaton) Brick and Tile Company, brick and tile makers, Esslemont. Robert Wilson, Manager.
1878 – Seaton Brick and Tile Works, Depot Guild Street. Office 39 Marischal St. Alexander Nicol, proprietor. He was the son of Baillie Nicol of Seaton, Old Aberdeen, the proprietor of the Seaton brick and tile works. Apart from ship owning, Mr Nicol’s firm has all along conducted the well-known brickworks at Seaton.
1878 – John & William Ross – Builders and Agents for Seaton Brickworks, Banchory, Kincardineshire 1878.
1878 – 1879 – Seaton Brick and Tile Co., Works – Old Aberdeen and Esslemont; Depot, Reclaimed Ground, Inches; Offices, 39 Marischal Street and 27 Stirling Street.
09/03/1878 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Accident to a pipe maker. John Cheyne, aged 64 years, pipe maker, employed at the Seaton Brick and Tile Works, King Street Road, sustained a compound fracture of his right leg below the knee and had his left thigh broken on Saturday at the works. He was engaged in assisting to slide a heavy piece of machinery from a cart to the ground, when by some means the ironwork descended with force, injuring him as stated. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary and attended to.
08/05/1880 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Alexander Nicol, late provost of Aberdeen dies aged 68.
1882 – Seaton Brick and Tile Works. Depot Guild Street. Office Marischal Street. Works King Street Road, Old Aberdeen. Alexander Nicol proprietor.
1882 – 1883 – Alex Cheyne, Foreman, Seaton Brickworks and Alex Christie, Manager, Seaton Brickworks.
1882 – 1883 – Seaton Brick and Tile Works, Old Aberdeen and Esslemont; Depot, Reclaimed Ground, Inches; Offices, 39 Marischal Street and 27 Stirling Street. (p. 256).
24/01/1885 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Aberdeen municipal contracts for 1885 – The following tenders have been accepted for the furnishings and work required by the Police Department – Bricks and fireclay – Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited.
1886 – Alex Chayne, traveller, Seaton Brick and Tile Company, 33 King Street Road.
Alex Christie, Seaton Brick and Tile Company, Torry Brickworks. Ho 29 King Street Road.
1886 -Seaton Brick & Tile Co. Limited, 27 Guild St— Alexander & Charles Christie, managers; G. W. Nicol, secretary, 39 Marischal St; Works, Torry (page 47)
1886 – Seaton Brick & Tile Co. (Aberdeen), Esslemont—Robert Wilson, manager (page 88).
1886 – 1887 – Seaton Brick and Tile Co Limited. Depot reclaimed ground. Office 27 Guild Street.
1886 – 1887 – Seaton Brick and Tile Co., Limited; Works, Torry, Esslemont, and Plaidy; depot, Reclaimed Ground, Inches; office, 27 Guild street.
05/05/1887 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – The directors of the Seaton Brick and Tile Company at their meeting yesterday, resolved to recommend the payment of a dividend at the rate of 9% on the business of the past years.
1887 – 1888 – Alex Chayne, traveller, Seaton Brick and Tile Company, 33 King Street Road.
Alex Christie, Seaton Brick and Tile Company, Torry Brick Works. Ho 29 King Street Road.
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.
01/05/1891 – Dundee Evening Telegraph – Marriages – 29/04/1891 at West Mathers, St Cyrus – Alexander Christie Jun, manager, Seaton Brickworks, Torry, Aberdeen to Mary second daughter of John Officer Esq, farmer, West Mathers.
Below – 06/05/1891 – Aberdeen Press and Journal. Seaton Brick and Tile Company employees supper. Mr A. Christie Jnr, manager.
10/06/1891 – Aberdeen Free Press – Aberdeen stock exchange – Seaton Brick and Tile shares £ 4s (all done after hours).
01/07/1892 – Aberdeen Evening Express – To contractors and builders – The Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited beg to intimate their appointment as sole agents for Aberdeen and the North for the sale of Messers Francis & Co’s famous ‘9 Elms Brand’ London Portland Cement. Special quotations for large quantities on application. 27 Guild Street, Aberdeen.
09/02/1893 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Shortly after eleven o’clock this forenoon it was discovered that fire had broken out in a shed on the farm of Brickfield, King Street Road. The outbreak was first observed by the tenant, Mr Robert Fraser, who at once gave the alarm. A telephone message quickly brought the fire brigade to the scene, but in the meantime, Mr Fraser bestirred himself in getting a number of cows out of the byre joining the shed. The two apartments were separated by only a wooden partition, and as the byre was full of smoke the animals were in danger of being suffocated. Fortunately, the farmer succeeded in getting them all out in safety. On the arrival of the fire brigade, the flames were speedily extinguished, but a considerable portion of the roof of the shed was burned; while about 100 stones of straw was destroyed by fire and water. The loss, which will not exceed £50, is covered by insurance with the North British and Mercantile Company. The farm is the property of the Seaton Brick A Tile Company.
Below – 17/06/1893 – Dundee Courier – Annual meeting of shareholders – Seaton Brick and Tile Company.
15/01/1894 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – New buildings in Aberdeen … Buildings on the west side of Market Street for Seaton brick and tile company limited per Messrs Ellis and Wilson, Architects …
Below – 20/06/1894 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – 11th Seaton Brick and Tile Works. General meeting of shareholders.
08/10/1894 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Aberdeen Municipal Election – Mr Campbell nominated Mr Charles Christie, Seaton brick and tile works and Mr Alex Christie sen, Seaton Brick and tile works was also nominated.
18/07/1895 – Stonehaven Journal – Reference to Alex Christie jun of Beachview, Torry brick and tile manufacturer.
27/06/1896 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Seaton brick and tile company – The 13th ordinary general meeting of this company was held in the Waverley Hotel, Aberdeen yesterday. Mr R.G Wilson, architect presiding. Mr G.W Nicol, secretary having read the balance sheet also submitted the director’s report for the past year., which recommended a dividend of 10%. The chairman, in moving its adoption, said they had good reason to be satisfied with the past years working. Owing to the open winter and a very mild season, he supposed, the sales had gone up considerably. The net profit in 1893 was $2610 and last year it was £2691. Mr Robert Smith, builder seconded and the report was adopted. A question was raised from increasing the director from 5 to 7 members, but the recommendation of the directors that no change be made was ultimately adopted. Mr John Morgan the retiring director was, on the motion of Mr Pringle, seconded by Mr John Seivwright, unanimously re-elected. On the motion of the Lord Provost Mearns, seconded by Mr G.W Nicol, Mr Harvey Hall was re-appointed as an auditor. On the motion of Mr John Ross, the chairman was thanked for presiding.
26/08/1896 – Aberdeen Press and Journal … Article on the completion of a new house build in Leadside Road, Aberdeen … The lobbies in the main building are of Seaton Brick and Tile Company’s patent hollow bricks which are also used in the partition walls in the back buildings …
25/05/1897 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – New offices in South Market Street, Aberdeen. Given a sufficiently free hand and the architects, granite cutters and masons in Aberdeen will evolve something classic and tasteful in Aberdeenshire grey granite whether in large, medium-sized or small buildings. The improvement in street architecture in the city during recent years has been gratifying. The latest structure that calls for a word of praise is the new brick office in South Market Street for the Seaton Brick and Tile Company. The mason’s work is now completed and the front elevation has secured the admiration of many competent observers. In style, it is classical, in general effect elegant, in detail not over elaborated, in material excellent and in workmanship all that could be desired. The architects are Messrs Ellis & Wilson, Aberdeen and Messers J & J Ross are contractors for the mason work.
Below – 1899 – Seaton Brickworks (different location to the above 1869 map).
23/01/1899 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Aberdeen corporation tramways – The proposal to carry goods – As may have been noticed, The Seaton Brick and Tile Company have acquired ground for new works in the vicinity of the ‘Black Dog’ in the Bellhelvie district and as it is their intention to construct a private light railway from the brickworks to the city boundary at Bridge of Don, there is no good reason why in course of time that railway should not be extended to Newburgh, and to bring the inhabitants of that place as well as the farming population lying between it and Aberdeen into nearer and closer touch with the city … The Seaton Brick and Tile Company who have had the enterprise to go in for so extensive works and who have the credit of suggesting the scheme now proposed, would themselves supply a great amount of traffic. We have it on good authority that what with the carrying of manufactured articles to their depots at Spital and Nellfield, to Waterloo and Kittybrewster Stations, could the system they suggest be carried out and the conveyance of coals from the city to the brickwork, the volume of traffic would be considerably over 22,000 tons per annum …
29/04/1899 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Pottery near Aberdeen for sale – In consequence of the death of Mr Thomas Gavin, Potter, Aberdeen, the Seaton Pottery situated about 1 mile from the City of Aberdeen, will be exposed to public roup and sale as a going concern within the writing chambers of Messrs R.D. Leslie and Simpson, Advocates, 137 Union Street, Aberdeen on Tuesday the 2nd day of May next at twelve o’clock noon. The business is a very old one and is the only pottery of its kind in the North of Scotland. The purchaser will have the option of taking over the stock at a mutual valuation …
27/01/1900 – Aberdeen Peoples Journal – The Strathbathie light railway. Representatives of the Tramways Committee of the Town Council and the Aberdeen District Committee have been conferring on the question of the width and suitability generally of the Bridge of Don for the connection being made between the tramway and the proposed light railway to Strabathie Brickworks and arrangements are progressing favourably. The Seaton Brick and Tile Company have purchased three the old Woodside cars for £15 each and fourth for £20. Aberdeen District Committee at a meeting on Tuesday informally considered the matter and resolved to refer it to the County Road Board without any recommendation. The District Committee, however, decided not to oppose the scheme.
05/01/1901 – Aberdeen Journal – Seaton brick and tile company – Presentation to foreman – A large gathering of the workmen in the employment of the Seaton brick and tile company was held in the County Hotel, Aberdeen last night for the purpose of bidding farewell to Mr John Anderson, foreman of the works at Torry, who has secured an important appointment as the manager at Cupar …
Below – 16/03/1901 – Aberdeen Peoples Journal – Seaton Brick and Tile Company advert. Apply for prices at Plaidy Brickworks, Esslemont Brickworks and Esslemont Railway Station.
2 1/2″, 3″, 4″ and 5″ diameter drain pipes in 15″ lengths and best hard burned red bricks may be had from stock at Esslemont Station. Pipes above 5″ and under 2 1/2″ in diameter at Esslemont Brickwork. Customers calling at Esslemont Station please apply to the station master and at Esslemont Brickwork to Mr Massie, Esslemont Meal Mill.
Turriff and Plaidy Districts. Drain pipes all sizes and best hard burned red bricks may be had from stock at Plaidy Brickwork on applying to Mr W. D. Morrison.
Also for Slains, Auchmacoy and Pitlurg Districts. Drain pipes, all sizes in 15″ lengths may be had from stock at Pitlurg Station on applying to the station master. For particulars as to delivered prices at other stations apply to Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited, manufacturers, fire clay, lime and cement merchants, Aberdeen. Estimates for all kinds of building and sewerage material also chimney cans, flower pots &c given on application.
16/07/1902 – The Aberdeen Daily Journal – Highland and Agricultural Show – Stand 155 contains a large number of ornamental vases, flowerpots and examples of the most up to date sanitary ware from the Seaton Brick and Tile Company, Aberdeen. Of special interest in the stand however is the exhibition of goods from the new Cleghorn Terra Cotta Company Limited, 93 Hope Street, Glasgow for which the Seaton Brick and Tile Company are the sole agents in this part of the country. The exhibit takes the form of a castle built of the highly finished bricks for which the Cleghorn Company is noted, together with the special bricks used for the paving of stable floors, mansion houses, courts and railway platforms etc. The goods manufactured by this company especially commend themselves for use to architects, builders and others having to do with the erections of buildings and should be seen by them. Up until 10 years ago the class of terra cotta bricks now being made by the company had been made solely in England, but from the style of the exhibits made in Lanarkshire the terra cotta making industry has come to stay in Scotland. Aberdeen School Board now uses terra cotta bricks of this company in various important contracts.
1903 – Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited – A Smith, Manager, manufacturers of bricks, tiles etc. 180 Market Street. Works – Strabathie near Aberdeen & Torry & Plaidy.
1903 – The Seaton Brick & Tile Co. Limited (A. Smith, manager), 180 Market Street, Aberdeen; works, Strabathie; Torry; Plaidy; Turriff & Esslemont, Ellon.
Below – 08/08/1903 – The Scotsman – Surplus brick and tile making machinery for sale at the Seaton Brick and Tile Company’s Yard, Aberdeen.
Below – 23/11/1903 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited.
Below – 08/08/1905 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Outing by the Aberdeen Mechanical Society to Strabathie Brickworks.
05/02/1906 – Aberdeen Journal – refers to Mr Smith as Manager of the Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited as he attended the Aberdeen Association of Civil Engineers annual dinner.
1911 – After crossing King Street Powis burn becomes the Tile Burn because it passes the site of Seaton Brickwork, where tiles used to be made for the roofs of houses in Old Aberdeen. Near the end of its course, the Tile Burn turns north, but before entering the Don it was joined by the Banstickle burn, on the right, from the Canny Sweet Pots. The tide comes up the Tile burn, and boats and small ships could take in cargoes of tiles and bricks very near the spot where they were made. The red laminated clay at Seaton Brickwork is derived from the old red sandstone beds that once existed, on a larger scale than they do now, between the Dee and the Don on the site of the city. In the glacial epoch, the snow sheet entering the sea between the rivers abraded and carried off the soft red rocks. As it entered the sea it melted, and its burden of debris was taken in hand by the waves. Big boulders and large stones had been left where they fell out of the melting snow; small stones had been rolled backwards and forwards at the edge of the sea till worn to pebbles and sand; the sand from the rough clay licked up by the snow had been well washed and deposited in layers on a sloping beach; and the washings, fine pure clay, had been carried out into deep water, where it sank when the tide was at rest at high and low water. When the tide was running fast, flowing or ebbing, the light clay did not get time to fall, but only a little heavy sand. Eight layers had been laid down every day, four of clay when the tide was standing still alternating with four of sand when it was running north or south. When a spadeful of this clay is dug out of a bed and dries in the sun it splits up at the sandy layers into thin leaves or laminate. Since its deposition, the land had risen far enough to raise the clay beds above the sea, though in some clay pits the laminated clay goes down below sea level.
14/05/1915 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Fireman and engine attendant, also labourers for brickworks wanted. Apply between 1000 and 1030 am, Foreman, Seaton Brick and Tile Co’s Yard, Bridge of Don.
23/08/1915 – Aberdeen Evening Express – Brickwork labourers, also a few lads (age 16 – 18) wanted immediately. Apply between 9 and 10 am Seaton Brick and Tile Co’s Yard. Bridge of Don.
11/07/1917 – Daily Record – Brickwork foreman wanted accustomed to common red brick and agricultural pipe making machinery and continuous kilns; expert management of machinery essential. Apply with references to the manager, Seaton Brick Tile Company Limited, Market Street, Aberdeen.
1923 – 1924 – Fraser. W., manager and secretary (Seaton Brick and Tile Co., Ltd.), 37 Balmoral Place.
Seaton Brick and Tile Co., Limited; Works, Strabathie and Bridge of Don. Telephone Nos. 1374 and 1374A. Depot and head office, 180 Market Street and Palmerston Road. Telephone No. 476.
Seaton Brick and Tile Company, Limited. Head Office and Depot 180 Market Street. Works, Strabathie.
Directors .R. G. Wilson, architect, Chairman. Roderick McKay, D. M. A. Chalmers, R. W. Walker, C. G. Smith, W. Fraser, Secretary.
Below – 11/07/1924 – Dundee Courier – Seaton Brick and Tile Co advert.
Below – 02/08/1924 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Seaton Brick and Tile Company to close.
Below – 04/10/1924 – The Scotsman – Seaton Brick and Tile Company Limited – In voluntary liquidation.
1926 – 1927 – Seaton Brick and Tile Company, brick and tile manufacturers Esslemont, Ellon.
Below – 19/03/1927 – The Scotsman – Seaton Brick Company in liquidation.
30/04/1928 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Masons and builders – offers wanted for approximately 25,000 bricks, ex circle chimney (these have a very slight camber); and 2000 bull bricks; must be removed immediately; can be inspected at Seaton Brickworks. Brand, Fraser Place, Aberdeen.
To slaters – offers wanted for about 14,000 good red pantiles; can be inspected at Seaton Brickworks; must be removed immediately; Brand, Fraser Place, Aberdeen.
Seaton Brickworks was located in Sinclair Road just a short distance to the west beyond Crombie Road.
Info – Seaton Brick and Tile Works.
Seaton Pottery, Aberdeen (Note – SBH – I have included this for interests sake).
Below – 1899 – Seaton Pottery.
2002 – 2003 – Excavations at Seaton Pottery Aberdeen by Alison Cameron.
A research excavation at the site of the Seaton Pottery in August and September 2002 revealed floors and walls associated with Scotland’s most northerly industrial pottery. A dump of pottery contained many smashed vessels as well as kiln furniture, including saggars, annular kiln spacers and stilts. Recognisable products of the pottery include sherds of agate wares, dab-wares, dairy bowls and unglazed gardening wares. This brick and tileworks operated from 1867 to 1967. Scotland’s most northerly industrial pottery produced finds and features from three phases of ownership (Gavin & Ritchie 1867-1904; Clarke & Smith 1904-5; and Mills 1905-64). Building foundations have been recorded and the extent of the pottery ascertained. Unfortunately, the kiln building is now under a road which cuts the site in half. After the pottery went out of business the land was used for housing and recreation. As a result, the remains are under 1.5-2m of sandy soil. A large number of finds include fragments of dab ware food storage barrels, bowls, various agate ware products, and large numbers of plant pots. These were the main product of the pottery for the last 50 years of its life. A number of plant pots stamped ‘Clarke & Smith’ are the first evidence that these art potters from Denby made plant pots. A mid-20th-century deposit included stacks of up to six complete plant pots which had exploded and fused together in the kiln. Kiln furniture was also prevalent: annular kiln spacers, saggars and hand-made spacers, as well as white pipe-clay spacers and pips, some decorated with flowers and stars. A number of small hand-made tools were found, including ribs for cleaning the surface of thrown pots.
Below – Broken plant pots marked Clarke and Smith, Seaton Pottery, Aberdeen.
Below – An undated photo of what is believed to be the Seaton Brickworks.