The Doric Columns
Bricks, Tiles & Pottery
Clay minerals are typically formed over long periods of time by the gradual chemical weathering of rocks, usually silicate-bearing, by low concentrations of carbonic acid and other diluted solvents. These solvents, usually acidic, migrate through the weathering rock after leaching through upper weathered layers. In addition to the weathering process, some clay minerals are formed by hydrothermal activity. Clay deposits may be formed in place as residual deposits in soil, but thick deposits usually are formed as the result of a secondary sedimentary deposition process after they have been eroded and transported from their original location of formation. Clay deposits are typically associated with very low energy depositional environments such as large lakes and marine deposits. Primary clays, also known as kaolins, are located at the site of formation. Secondary clay deposits have been moved by erosion and water from their primary location
The site of this brick and tile works lies in an area now occupied by modern multi-storey housing. The oldest established and most important brickwork in the district in the early twentieth century was the
A research excavation at the site of the A large number of finds include fragments of dab ware food storage barrels, bowls, various agate ware products, and large numbers of plant pots. These were the main product of the pottery for the last 50 years of its life. A number of plant pots stamped
The Murcar Links Golf Club officially came into being in 1908, but not without some controversy over the choice of name. There was also support at the formative meeting for the names: Berryhill, Black Dog and Seaton. All of the names related to the surrounding area on which the course is built. After much discussion, Murcar and Seaton were tied with 11 votes each. The Chairman cast his vote in favour of Murcar and thus there started the long history of links golf under that name. Seaton and Black Dog gained some consolation in that they are the names of the 6th and 9th holes on Murcar respectively.
Strabathie Light Railway - This line was also known as the "Murcar Railway". - The line ran from Bridge of Don to the Seaton Brick and Tile Company's Blackdog Brickworks. It was used for both Passengers and freight. The line was used by the Murcar Gold Club. The line was opened in 1899 and closed North of the Murcar Golf Club clubhouse in 1924. It closed completed in 1949.
Transport to Murcar Golf Course, some 5 miles north from the centre of Aberdeen, was a problem. This was until an agreement was reached with the Seaton Brick and Tile Company for the use of their tramcar on the Strabathie Light Railway. This ran through the neighbouring Royal Aberdeen Golf Club and right past the clubhouse and through the middle of the course. Payment was 6 shillings (equivalent to 30 pence today) per week to cover the extra hours of the driver on Saturdays.
Broadford Works 1912 (see date plaque at NE end), a very large, 4-storey, red brick-built flax warehouse, much of the brick emanating from the Seaton Brick and Tile Works
The fine Townhouse that we see today in Old Aberdeen. The wall in front of this building is made from Seaton bricks. These, used extensively in Old Aberdeen, and were produced locally at the Seaton Brick and Tile Works, which was located a little to the south of the mouth of the River Don.
The red laminated clay at Seaton Brick Work is derived from the old red sandstone beds that once existed, on a larger scale than they do now, between the Dee and the Don on the site of the city. In the glacial epoch the snow sheet entering the sea between the rivers abraded and carried off the soft red rocks. As it entered the sea it melted, and its burden of debris was taken in hand by the waves. Big boulders and large stones had been left where they fell out of the melting Ice; small stones had been rolled backwards and forwards at the edge of the sea till worn to pebbles and sand; the sand from the rough clay licked up by the ice had been well washed and deposited in layers on a sloping beach ; and the washings, fine pure clay, had been carried out into deep water, where it sank when the tide was at rest at high and low water. When the tide was running fast, flowing or ebbing, the light clay did not get time to fall, but only a little heavy sand. Eight layers had been laid down every day, 4 of clay when the tide was standing still alternating with 4 of sand when it was running north or south. When a spadeful of this clay is dug out of a bed and dries in the sun it splits up at the sandy layers into thin leaves or laminate.. Since its deposition the land had risen far enough to raise the clay beds above the sea, though in some clay pits the laminated clay goes down below sea level.
Tax on Bricks.
Clayhills Brick and Tile Works initially run by John Auldjo in the early 18th century utilised a large seam of clay which runs down the east coast of Scotland.
John Auldjo was a remarkable man who also made and sold great quantities of manure using available horse dung, bark from a tannage and alternative added elements of unburnable peat, clay and discarded sea dogfish which Torry Fishermen only harvested for the liver oil. - Where there is muck there is brass!
Auldjo also ran a Pottery, an offshoot near the Brickworks. The Pottery made a range of very fine wares including cups, mugs and bowls decorated with slip decoration. They also made creamware bowls and plates as well as brown- glazed bowls and tea-pots. Aberdeen Pottery produced ceramic wares during much of the 18th century. It is one of the earliest industrial potteries in Scotland and one of the only that made creamwares. The cups and bowls from a recent excavation at the site are some of the finest which were made in Britain during that period.
The Brick and Tile Works which also utilised a large seam of clay running through the Clayhills area of the city. It was first mentioned in the Aberdeen Journal of 3rd October 1749 where it declares that he manufactured `pan-tile and brick. (as well as) brown earthenware). By 1771 it was reported that Auldjo was making `Cream-coloured, Tortoiseshell, Black and Brown Earthen-Ware, Flower-pots, Water-pipes &c'. Potters' Creek is indicated in Milne's map of 1789 where it appears as a group of about 10 buildings close to the mouth of the Ferryhill Burn, a branch of which provided the power for their wheels. There is no indication when these clay seams were first exploited but the name `Clayhills' is mentioned from at least the late 14th century. According to Milne, near the burn were `banks of laminated clay so steep in the face that sand martins tunnelled long holes in them, where they brought out their young in safety'.
In 1775 the Shipmasters Society brought an action in the High Court of Admiralty against John Auldjo, merchant in Aberdeen, for non-payment of prime gilt for 75 voyages made from the port of Aberdeen. The litigation lasted 10 years, going before the House of Lords and the Court of Session before finally being ruled in favour of Auldjo, a decision which brought an end to the practice, and to the provision of Charity for foreign seamen which it had funded.
The Clayhills Brick and Tile Works was in financial difficulties from 1799 and went up for roup (auction) a number of times in the early 1800s. In 1810 the following advert appeared in the local press: 'LANDS OF CLAYHILLS. To be SOLD, by public roup, within the house of George Ronald, vintner in Aberdeen, upon Friday the 7th of September, at 12 o'clock noon, (if not previously disposed of by private bargain,)
The site also covers part of the area of the Dee Village built in the 18th century and demolished in the 1890s after it developed into a slum and was bought by the Town Council. In the 1920s it was occupied by the Dee Village Works a steam powered Electricity generating station and latterly by Hydro-Electric. Millburn Street takes its name from the Potters Creek or Mill Burn which it ran parallel to James Gordon - Map of Aberdeen 1661
A large number of finds relating to the Aberdeen Pottery were recovered. These included bisque sherds of cups, mugs, jugs, bowls, teapots and several other vessel types. These vessels had been fired once, slip decoration applied and had then been broken or damaged prior to a second glaze firing. Many sherds displayed breaks covered in glaze indicating that they had broken in the kiln and glaze had dripped across the break. Several examples of kiln furniture included saggars, the large fire-clay vessels which were used in the kiln to protect the wares from smoke and intense heat, as well as a large number of spacers used to keep vessels apart in the kiln. These finds are the first evidence of the products of this important Pottery and are of extreme importance to the history of Aberdeen.
I have a typewritten sheet on Dryleys Pottery which says: In 1885 Dryleys was taken over by Seaton Brickworks of Aberdeen and it closed down altogether after a few more years. This seems to contradict your account, and I would be glad to hear from you about this. Who is right? Yours truly, Willie Johnston
This redware sgraffito kitchen bowl was probably made at Dryley's pottery at Montrose. It dates from 1866.
The bowl is decorated with peacocks, Urns and plants. It bears the inscription 'Mrs J Dunbar / 1866'.
Several potteries existed in the north-east of Scotland, mainly catering for local markets.
The Dryleys Brick and Tile Works which was established in 1816 on the clay lands around Dubton. The works manufactured building material for the rapidly growing burgh and tile drains which were used by farmers for draining their fields. The works flourished and by 1960(?) seven large brick and tile drying kilns were in operation. Over 60 workers were employed and a railway line was laid to bring clay from the nearby quarry. Between 1838 and 1856 Dryleys was managed by a man called David Crowe. It was he who introduced the manufacture of pottery.
In 1856 Dryleys was taken over by Col. Renny Tailyour, proprietor of the estate on which the works stood. Although it continued to flourish as a brickworks, the subsequent history of the Pottery is rather obscure. Commercial production seems to have ceased by the end of the 1860’s. A few dated pieces from the 1870’s and 80’s were probably turned out by the workmen in their spare time. In 1885 Dryleys was taken over by Seaton Brickworks of Aberdeen and it closed down altogether after a few more years.
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