Book records unique history of Bulmer brick yard and centuries-old craft of brick-making
- Credit: Gregg Brown
There is not much that Peter Minter doesn’t know about the centuries-old craft of brick-making.
The 82-year-old, from Bulmer near Sudbury, has gleaned most of his knowledge during a lifetime spent lovingly hand making the clay building blocks at a yard with a history dating back more than 500 years.
Mr Minter, owner of the bespoke Bulmer Brick & Tile Company on the Suffolk/Essex border, is believed to be the last of his kind in the UK using traditional methods to hand-make bricks.
He has just been persuaded by local historians, family and friends to record some of his unique knowledge and memories in a book, entitled The Brickmaker’s Tale.
In words and pictures, it tells the story of the brick yard and the people who have worked there over the years and it also highlights some of the interesting projects Mr Minter’s family has worked on.
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In recent years, this has included recreating historic bricks for National Trust properties such as Hampton Court Palace and Blickling Hall in Norfolk, as well as bricks for the extension to St Pancras Station in London. The ones in the original station building were made by Mr Minter’s predecessors.
He said: “People often ask how I know certain tricks of the trade but I was brought up with all the old boys at the yard who taught me things that other people have forgotten. My family have often asked me about the past and I became aware that there was a need to record the history of the site and the characters who have worked here over time for posterity.
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“The brick yard’s story is quite unique. It has the longest history of any yard in the UK dating back to 1450 and the clay we use is the only clay of its type in the country.”
The first part of the book covers the early history of the site while the second explores the period from 1936 when Mr Minter’s family took the company over.
The Brickmaker’s Tale is available from Kestrel Bookshop in Sudbury, priced £30. To find out more, visit www.bulmerbrickandtile.co.uk