Bricks from the Mythe helped to build Tewkes­bury

Gloucestershire Echo - - NOSTALGIA -

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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.

Tewkes­bury

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