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brick
Monmouthshire
Cwmbran


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HANSON HENLLIS (ACORN)

HANSON HENLLIS (ACORN)
Found: Mountain Road, Upper Cwmbran; double stamped.

Cyrus Hanson started a works in 1842 at Two Locks for the production of fire bricks. He also owned the Henllys Colliery which supplemented fireclay found on site.The Mineral Statistics for 1858 and Kelly’s of 1871 refer to “Cyrus Hanson, Cwmbran”. In 1874, JC Hill who owned the nearby Oakfield Wire Works bought the colliery and the brickworks. It is probable that Hanson bricks with an acorn stamp were produced by JC Hill, since their brand for the wire works and brickworks was described in an 1884 trade advertisement as "The Acorn Brand". In 1881 it was being designated in Kelly’s as “Henllis Firebrick & Retort Works, Llanvihangel-Llantarnam”. Edwin Southwood Jones was listed as the manager. (In 1895 he started his own brick works at Risca and Pontypool - see SJ bricks). In 1885, after a period of closure, it was bought and re-opened by the Patent Nut & Bolt Co (Arthur Guest). In 1900, the Patent Nut & Bolt Co merged with the Dowlais Iron Co (Keen) to form Guest & Keen. who also bought the Henllys Colliery. In 1902, Nettlefold joined Guest and Keen to form GKN. In the 1970s/1980s, another firm, Dahl, joined the brickworks, the brand becoming GKN DAHL. The works finally closed down in the 1980s and Gifford Close was built on the site. This brick works was the longest operating in Cwmbran,1842-1980s.
These house bricks are believed to post-date the Hanson ownership; some exist with an acorn logo which was the brand logo of JC Hill. Since no bricks have been found with any stamp referring to Patent Nut & Bolt it is likely, but not proven, that "acorn" bricks date from JC Hill's acquisition of the company c. 1874 and the "acornless" examples from PNB ownership in 1885 to the GKN era from 1902; bricks have been found with GKN HENLLYS, so we know that at last, the Hanson die was no longer used.

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