For this year’s Whitegold Festival the Brickfield community brickworks will be opening its site at Blackpool Pit to the general public, running drop in brickmaking workshops, firing their mini beehive kiln and taking participants on a walking tour of Blackpool Lake and up Watch Hill, one of the highest points in Cornwall. Come along and meet the team, make a brick, have a look at the prototype brick structures built by Falmouth University M.Architecture students and see the kiln firing.
Brickfield Fieldtrip 25th June 11am – 3pm
Join members of the Brickfield Team for awalking tour of Blackpool Pit. Once one of the biggest and most productive china clay pits in the UK with a special viewing platform for VIP visitors, Blackpool Pit is now a 200ft deep lake surrounded by giant terraced banks. This walking tour circumnavigates the lake and takes participants up Watch Hill to take in the views out west towards St Agnes, Goonhilly and Lizard.
The walk takes approximately 3 hours and is taken at a slow steady pace with breaks to admire the views and chat about the landscape, and there’s a stop off for a packed lunch along the way. If participants prefer not to climb Watch Hill there is a flatter option to finish the walk by continuing around the perimeter of the lake. The walk returns participants to the Brickfield site where participants are invited to have a look around at the brick making activities.
Please wear appropriate clothing for walking, bring plenty water and your own packed lunch. Sunscreen and a hat are recommended!
Places are limited and booking is essential. Please book here!
Sat 26th June – Open site
Have a go at making a brickmaking, watch the kiln firing, view the prototype brick structures made by the M.Architecture students and Sensory Trust’s intergenerational dementia friendly walking group, The Happy Wanderers, find out more about the history of hand brickmaking in clay country and get your copy of the Brickfield Guide to Cornish Brickmaking.
Featuring The John-athon!
Especially for this year’s Festival, John Osborne the last brickmaker in St Austell’s clay country will be testing his brickmaking skill in a special attempt to make as many bricks as he can in an hour! When John was working at Wheal Remfry brickworks, nr Fraddon back in the late 1960’s he would make over 700 bricks in a day working in a pair. One person would “clat” the clay, prepare it into an appropriate shape, and the other would throw it into the brick mould and then the brick would be turned out of the mould to dry on a warm kiln floor. This incredible feat of human labour inspired the Brickfield Brickathon. Brickfield’s current brickathon record is 370 bricks in a day made by 15 people. Watch, learn and admire John’s incredible skill!
In 2020 the Brickfield team manually reclaimed 10 tonnes of hand made bricks from the Wheal Remfry brickworks site and used them to build a new mini beehive kiln on the site at Blackpool Pit. The kiln will be firing over the period of the festival starting on Thurs 24th June with a gentle steaming to drive off any excess moisture from the bricks before firing up on Friday 25th and overnight into Saturday.
Brickfield BUILD Prototype Brick structures
This year Brickfield have been working collaboratively with Falmouth University M.Architecture students and the Happy Wanderers, an intergenerational dementia friendly walking group local to St Austell and supported by the Sensory Trust, engaging them with the brickmaking heritage of the region and exploring its relevance to a more sustainable future. In April the students were able to come together on site to learn through doing. With the support of the Brickfield team and other building professionals the students learnt how to mix clay from china clay extraction waste, handmake bricks, basic bricklaying skills and how to mix and work with sustainable lime mortars.
Working in teams the students built two prototype brick structures co-designed with the Happy Wanderers that are intended to enhance their experience of walking the local landscape. In early May some of The Happy Wanderers visited the site to see what the students had made and were delighted. Come along and have a look at the structures and give us some feedback on what they have made.