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Tyne and Wear HER(3434): Blaydon Burn, Cowen's Lower Brickworks - Details

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Blaydon Burn, Cowen's Lower Brickworks

Blaydon Burn



Brick and Tilemaking Site


Early Modern


Documentary Evidence

Brickworks were established here in 18th century and fireclay is thought to have been mined here even earlier. About 1819 Joseph Cowen, the first Chairman of the River Tyne Improvement Commission, took over the Blaydon Burn Pit and Works. Upon his death in 1874 his sons Joseph Cowen and John Anthony Cowen took over. The property included two sets of firebrick and retort making works, each with drying and kilning accomodation and steam-driven machinery. The lower works abutted the North Eastern Railway and River Tyne, and a system of sidings and a long stretch of wharfage provided facilities for transport by rail or boat. The fire brick works consisted of one large building with three smaller, but nevertheless substantial, buildings in the 1850s. By the 1890s a number of others had been added, but a major redevelopment saw the building of a huge single structure which covered most of the site of the early buildings. Some further expansion took place in the inter-war period. Cowen's had brickworks at either end of the Blaydon Burn valley: this was Joseph Cowen's Number 2 Firebrick Works. Both closed in relatively recent times, the upper brick works (HER ref. 1646) closing before the lower works which were latterly owned by the National Coal Board. Little remains of the lower works today.




<< HER 3434 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 2 LNH/JMW, 1975, Blaydon Burn - Industrial Archaeology S.M. Linsley, 1981, Blaydon Burn T. Yellowley, 1986, Stella and Blaydon Burn I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 45; N.G. Rippeth, 1990, Blaydon in old picture postcards

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