A former Preston brickworks was uncovered recently by Preston City Council workers.
While installing a new water pipe at Fishwick recreation ground they uncovered relics from an old brick working foundry.
Fishwick recreation ground was once used as rubbish tip. However, early in the twentieth century, and possibly the nineteenth century, the site was used to extract both sand and clay to make bricks on the site.
Bricks clearly showing the inscription ‘J. Topping & Son, Preston’ have been uncovered. Local people had told stories about the brickworks over the years but nothing had been found until now.
Workmen digging a trench discovered a brick built archway and as they progressed, they came across a number of brick walls. He arch may be part of a ventilation system for a downdraught kiln and the walls may be foundations for the kilns themselves.
The Archaeology unit at Lancashire County Council have entered the find on their Sites Register and it is hoped that an archaeologist from the University of Central Lancashire can continue to examine the site before it is covered over again.
References to the brickworks have been found. One suggests the brickworks operated in the mid-1900’s. Other information mentions ‘J. Topping – brick and tile manufacturer’ back in the first half of the 1800’s.
The surviving bricks may be recycled into to make planters containing flowers, to commemorate the industrial heritage of the site.
Preston Councillor Robert Boswell who is Cabinet member for environment and community commented: “This is a very exciting and unusual find on a piece of council land.
“I know park rangers have kept an eye open over the years for bricks with Topping’s name on, but given that large parts of the recreation ground and Local Nature Reserve were landfill sites, there are many old bricks around – mainly from Accrington.
“If anyone can supply us with information or photographs on the Topping’s brickworks at London Road, we’d be very interested to learn more and the details could be included on interpretation boards at the site.”