Brick and tile kiln west of East Quay, 200m east of Bridgwater Dock lock


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Brick and tile kiln west of East Quay, 200m east of Bridgwater Dock lock
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 29997 37635

Reasons for Designation

The brick and tile industry in Bridgwater was established by the 17th century, making use of the local clay deposits, and by the end of the 18th century the industry was operating on a much larger scale taking advantage of the accessible alluvial clays of the River Parrett. After the clay had been extracted from the river it was processed and shaped into the finished product ready to be fired. This operation was carried out in square or bottle-shaped kilns. Bottle kilns were of the intermittent type which meant that they were fired intermittently on a cycle of fill-fire-cool-empty, taking between one to three weeks to complete a firing. Intermittent kilns were originally all of the up- draught type and each firing needed about 15 tons of coal with much of the generated heat escaping through the chimney. The brick and tile kiln west of East Quay, 200m east of Bridgwater Dock lock was one of many such kilns constructed in Bridgwater between 1845 and 1850 and is now the only example which survives in the county and is one of only a few which survive nationally. In addition it illustrates an important change in technology, being converted from the primary up-draught firing to the more energy efficient down-draught firing.


The monument includes a post-medieval brick and tile kiln located on the east bank of the River Parrett on East Quay road. The kiln was founded in 1858 by Alfred Barham and was part of the extensive Barham Brothers' Works which produced materials for the building trade including the distinctive Bath Brick and a range of roofing tiles and assorted decorative products such as terracotta plaques and gable end finials. The outer part of the kiln, known as the hovel, is brick-built in a typical bottle-shape, with a circular base wall approximately 4m in diameter below, and a cupola-shaped top above, tapering to the original up-draught chimney. It is estimated to be up to 21m from base to chimney. The upper part of the kiln is reinforced with iron bands to counteract cracks caused by the heat. Inside the hovel, the oven chamber is countersunk about 2m below ground level and has eight surviving fire-mouths or grates set into it. The circular base wall of the kiln is enclosed by a brick-built building, of a date contemporary with that of the kiln, approximately 12.5m square and rising to roof level at which height the kiln structure begins to taper. Louvres set within the wall of this building were designed to control the air flow within the kiln. During the 1950s the kiln was converted to a down-draught type which increased the heating efficiency of the kiln by means of an external square chimney, which still survives on the south east side of the kiln structure. The brick kiln remained in commercial use trading under its original name of Barham Brothers from its foundation until 1965 when it ceased production. The entire kiln and its surroundings have been converted to form the Somerset Brick and Tile Museum. A viewing floor and guard rails have been installed inside and an additional building has been built on the south side of the kiln. The new building has been constructed in the style of a tile-drying shed using building material reclaimed from the site of two kilns which were also once part of the Barham Brothers' Works and which were demolished in 1974. This purpose-built museum building is not included in the scheduling. All modern flooring and guard rails, all information panels, and all modern features dedicated to the display of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Murless, B J, The Bath Brick Industry at Bridgwater, (1976), 19-27


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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