Countesthorpe Brickworks

It appears that in 1882 Thomas Messenger might have purchased The Countesthorpe Brick and Tile Works, sited just west of the village, adjacent to the Willoughby road and the old Leicester and Rugby Branch line of the Midland Railway.

 

 

In the late 1870s, the works was being run by a Mr. William Henry Townsend and in late 1879, a new Company known as The Countesthorpe Brick and Tile Company Limited was formed on 3rd September, to acquire the business. The new Company had six directors one of which was William Henry Townsend. In November, they advertised a share issue of 4,000 shares at £5 each[1], of which 2,500 worth of shares had been subscribed[2]. Eighteen months later, they were seeking additional capital and advertised another share issue; this time for 1,000 shares, £1 payable on application and £2 on allotment[3]. However, they obviously were struggling because the advertisement quoted that £11,755 of shares had already been subscribed, which less than they quoted eighteen months earlier. Despite this, they were very bullish stating that “to enable them to meet the great and increasing demand which has resulted from the superior quality of the Bricks and Tiles manufactured. Many orders are now on hand that double the present number of men could at once he profitably employed; but, in order to do this, an increase of Capital is necessary[4]. Despite the Directors optimism within seven months, the Company had failed and was being wound-up[5]. Therefore, the brick and tile works were put up for auction on 15th March, described as being a little over 3 acres in size with a significant amount of new machinery (although nothing by Messenger) and buildings, capable of producing over 200,000 bricks per week[6].

The following year Ebenezer Healey was reported as being the proprietor of The Countesthorpe Brick and Tile Company[7]. Four years later he is still there operating the works[8].

Following the failure of Ebenezer Healey at The Wigston Junction Brick and Tile Company, in 1888, Thomas Messenger placed the Countesthorpe brick works up for sale[9]: –

To BRICKMAKERS and BUILDERS – To be Sold or Let on very reasonable terms, the Countesthorpe Brick Works near Leicester, consisting of complete working plant in first-class condition standing in about five acres of land, with two Cottages, Office, Stores &c. – For further particulars apply to T. G. Messenger, Park road, Loughborough.

In 1891, The Countesthorpe Brick and Tile Company was still active and being managed by Alfred Measures[10]. By 1904[11], the site had been abandoned and the works removed, although the clay pit was left unfilled. Later, a small residential housing development was built on the works site, although the original clay pit, now a lake surrounded by trees, survives.

 

References:

  1. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 8th November 1879.

  2. Ibid.

  3. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 7th May 1881.

  4. Ibid..

  5. The London Gazette 3rd January 1882.

  6. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 4th March 1882.

  7. Wright’s Directory of Leicester & Fifteen Miles Round, 1883-84.

  8. Wright’s Directory of Leicestershire, 1887-1888.

  9. The Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury, 15th December 1888

  10. Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire….. 1891.

  11. Ordnance Survey Map.