This section has been expanded into 3 pages:
Our park is locally known as the ‘Brickfield’, so it’s not at all surprising that it’s the site of an ‘extensive’ brick works, from the Victorian era, right through to 1934. It was on the southern boundary of the estate of Coles-Child, Lord of the Manor (not sure if that was meant to be complementary) who had bought the Manor of Bromley from the Diocese of Rochester.
In our brickpit, initially, the London Clay was extracted for brick making, and when this was exhausted, the gravels and sands underneath, of the Lambeth group (but also called ‘Woolwich and Reading Beds’), for local construction.
In the first half of the 1800’s the local supply of bricks had been from more and smaller local pits (no-one carried bricks further than they needed to); there are several marked in the area on the 1868 map. Though the mid-1800’s Bromley expanded enormously, and there was a ready market for bricks, and sands and gravels, for the local construction industry; the brickpit here expanded accordingly. Bricks from this brickworks were used in the construction of the railway (it was a condition of it passing through Coles-Childs land) and the new town hall. See our About the brick pit of Coles-Child Lord of the Manor page for more details and pictures of the former brick town hall in Market Square.
Under our feet (the stratigraphy):
Bromley is at the southern end of the London Basin, a syncline (downward bend of the rocks) where the chalk of the Chilterns in the north, curves down under London, to come back up as the chalk of the South Downs. Here is an illustration of the concept from 1843::
So, working downwards, the sedimentary layers of ‘rock,’ beneath this local area, are:
Please see our The rocks – or clay – under our feet (the stratigraphy) page for more about the London Clay and some information about local geology.
The BGS (British Geological Survey) archive of assets has photographs of some of the local brickpits.
These photos were taken in 1921, when our Brickfield was a huge hole in the ground, and called Peill’s Brick Pit. It closed in 1934 on the death of it’s proprietor, James John Peill. BGS Geo-Scenic archive asset number P201862. Caption “The Blackheath Pebble Beds. This view is taken to show the even-bedded sand and loam passing downwards into current-bedded sands. Pebbles are rare, but a bed of them occurs near the figure.”
Please see the Pictures of Our Brickpit Being Worked page for more pictures of our brickfield when it was a working pit. This page also has some information from Paul Rainey about the Geologists Association field trip to nearby Widmore Pit (where the baseball pitch is at Widmore Green) in 1871.
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