The Technical Development of Brickwork in Scotland 1700-1900

  • Moses Jenkins

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis examines a much neglected area of Scottish building and construction history, brickwork. It will be conclusively shown that brick has seen far more widespread use in Scottish buildings than has been appreciated to date. This is true not just in terms of the range of building types which have been found to incorporate brick into their construction but also when the geographical spread of these buildings is considered.

    It will also be shown that in the period the research covers, 1700-1900, brickwork in Scotland underwent a series of technical developments. This saw brick transformed from a material used in a limited capacity for specific purposes such as garden wall construction and ice houses in the early 18th century to one which, by 1900, saw extensive use in the construction of housing, industrial buildings and engineered structures. Specific technical developments within areas of brick construction have also emerged. This can be seen in areas as diverse as bond, the height to which four courses of brickwork rise, arch construction and cavity walling. The technical developments within Scottish brickwork are considerable and this thesis represents the first comprehensive analysis of these.

    In addition to demonstrating the extent of the use of the material and the considerable technical developments there within, this thesis will present substantial evidence in support of the view that Scotland developed specific craft practices in using brick which are not reflected in contemporary technical reference works. This is most significant in the bonding of brickwork with a specifically Scottish bond being dominant in the 19th century. Survey work of surviving buildings will also show that there was a specifically Scottish gauge of brickwork when measuring the height to which four courses rose. Other differences in craft practice can be seen when the construction of brickwork at an angle other than 90 degrees and arch construction are examined to give but two examples.

    This thesis will also present evidence for a number of areas. When brick making is considered new evidence is presented to both the extent of the industry in Scotland which can be seen to be more extensive both in the 18th and 19th centuries than has previously been appreciated, and also for specific Scottish developments in kilns and brick making machines. The influence which developments in manufacturing had on the use of brick will also be demonstrated. Finally, it will be shown that, whilst Scottish brickwork often served functional requirements, this was never entirely true and the use of brick in this country can be shown to have a decorative as well as functional element to it.

    As the first comprehensive examination of brickwork in Scotland this thesis presents a wide ranging view of both the extent of the use of the material and the developments therein. By so doing, brick can begin to receive the level of analysis and understanding that has hitherto been lacking and be rightfully considered an integral part of Scottish construction between 1700-1900.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorNeil Burford (Supervisor), Neil Grieve (Supervisor) & Anne Cumming (Supervisor)


    • Brick
    • Scotland
    • Brickwork
    • Technical
    • Building architecture

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