Bricks from the Mythe helped to build Tewkesbury
TEWKESBURY had a major facelift in Georgian times when many of the halftimbered buildings along High Street, Church Street and Barton Street were given fashionable, brick facades.
Those bricks were made at the Mythe. Take a stroll down Paget’s Lane and you’re likely to find folk fishing in what were once clay pits and remain a reminder of this formerly thriving industry.
Brickmaking on a small scale was underway at the Mythe by the 16th century.
Everything was done by hand, except puddling the clay, which was done by feet. On a hot day in June squelching about with cool, gooey clay oozing up between your toes must have been pleasant enough. Less so on a brisk January morning, though.
By about 1700, demand from Tewkesbury builders prompted William Walker to expand his business into roof and gutter tile production.
Later the operation was acquired by Thomas Mann, then Joseph Mann.
In the first half of the 19th century, Tewkesbury prospered as a coaching town, which spurred another period of development.
The Oldbury area was built on open ground and partners Sam Fryzer and J Jeffries, who then owned the business, enjoyed a prosperous time.
This continued until about 1900 when competition from larger makers forced them out of business.
By the way, take a look at those facades in the town centre and you’ll notice the bricks are slim.
This is because the kilns were wood fired with timber from Mythe Wood and achieved a lower temperature than coal.
Consequently the bricks were smaller, to make sure they were properly cooked all the way through.