A few weeks ago I made it out to Stewartby Brickworks in Bedfordshire, from what I can gather it closed it’s doors in February 2008 but having read the post on derelicte.co.uk it sounds as though it had been running at a limited capacity for a good few years before that. I was looking forward to exploring an industrial unit but my heart sank a little as I drove up towards the village as I saw bulldozers around the perimeter, thankfully when I got around the back of the village they appeared quite far away and may not be part of the brickworks at all.
Once on the site I had a look around and started taking photos in one of the nearby sheds when I heard some noise, in the distance I saw a van moving and it eventually drove right past me on the other side of a wall. Other than that and the bulldozery in the distance I didn’t detect any other presence on the site but out of caution I didn’t explore some of the sheds in the direction the van came from.
Despite having not been abandoned for long the site is in a relatively good condition, there’s a lot of rubble around and dust in the air but not much evidence of mould, graffiti or vandalism – quite a refreshing change from most places! The structures seem to be intact and pretty sturdy (I wouldn’t try climbing though), there were some noticeboards that still had A4 paper pinned to it in fairly good condition (notes about the lay-offs) and dotted around the site were some interesting ‘motivational’ signs with slogans such as “QUALITY IS YOUR ONLY FUTURE” or “THINK QUALITY, IT TAKES JUST AS MUCH EFFORT TO MAKE A BAD BRICK”.
I’ve never worked in that sort of industrial assembly-line environment but I can’t imagine those signs really had much of an impact. Other paperwork and non-English language newspapers around the site seemed to point to a largely migrant workforce and there were even some photos taped on the walls showing what I assume were former employees stacking bricks.
Elsewhere around the site there was a good mix of giant sheds and nice close detail to photograph, overall a pretty cool site. If I hadn’t seen activity on the site I’d have been able to stay a little longer but as it happened I had other places to go but I imagine that I’ll return at some point.