Gauge: 2ft 11in (890mm)
The advantages of using Oxford Clay for brick making were first discovered at Peterborough. Extremely uniform, Oxford clay did not require added water to break it down. After grinding, its natural moisture content and low plasticity meant that the unfired bricks were sufficiently strong to be stacked in a kiln straight away. Its high carbon content meant that heated bricks would virtually fire themselves. The “Fletton Process” meant that more bricks could be produced more economically.
J. C. Hill started the London Brick Company at Fletton, Peterborough in 1889. The Bedfordshire brickmakers B. J. H. Forders and Co. Ltd opened brickworks at Elstow in 1897, making use of the new technologies discovered at Peterborough. In 1923 these two companies merged to become the London Brick Company and Forders Ltd. In 1927 the new company purchased a controlling interest in the last large independent brickmaker, Itter’s, and it became part of the new company. In 1936 the expanded company traded simply as the London Brick Company Ltd, the world’s largest brickmaker. Today the LBC is owned by the Hanson Group.