Caley Bricks

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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Caley Bricks

Post by theparley »

What sort of brick did the Caley use for its brick built structures ?
Was it:
1) Common brick or
2) Engineering brick

My understanding is that the quality of the Scottish brick clay was inferior in quality to its English counterpart, such that Scottish common bricks were very susceptible to frost damage. This in turn led to the extensive use of protective roughcast. Following that logic, since most Caley brick structures were not rough-casted, the answer would seem to be Engineering brick. However, Engineering brick would have to be brought from England with its better clay and I am not sure if that was done. So, maybe there is a third answer.
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by jimwatt2mm »

I am in the process of building a model of Rutherglen Wieghs weigh house from a drawing in the July - September 1971 HMRS Journal. The drawing is one traced from CR drawing No. 2914, traced by Ed McKenna in December 1969. The accompanying text, by Charles Underhill, states inter allia:

'Theconstruction was of simple common red brickwork with a slated roof. No mention of any harling.

Jim W
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by dunalastairv »

I used to collect bricks with names impressed in the 'frogs' and had a great many from Scottish brickworks located in the central industrial belt. There were plenty of high quality engineering brick makers, whose products didn't crack or spall and were easily a match for similar products from England. Bricks are heavy - a proper Imperial engineering brick weighs about 10 lbs., the same as a gallon of water, so you don't want to transport them further than possible. Research at station sites usually revealed engineering bricks used for facings or bridges, water tank houses, etc., with common bricks used on inside walls where the weather wouldn't be an issue. You can be sure the Caley used locally-sourced bricks and I never found any from England at sites on any part of the C.R. As for quality, the products of the Cleghorn Brick & Terra Cotta Company stick out as exceptional but there were plenty of similar strength and finish made by other firms. Bricks WERE transported on occasion to country districts which lacked local facilities but no doubt this carriage was kept to a minimum too. From a modelling point of view, the number of different shades and colouring of Scottish bricks was just as varied as those south of the border, so you have plenty of scope.

Michael Dunn.
Alan K
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by Alan K »

One thing to note about brick buildings by the Caley (and also NB and GWSR) is that they always used the same bond: ie with a header course after every 3 stretcher courses. This is different from 'English Bond' where every second course is a header. I believe that the reason for using less header courses was that the bricks for the header courses determine the thickness of a double brick wall, so as to get an even surface inside and out, so it needed less sorting. This may have arisen in early times when there was not so much control of brick size as later, and may later have been just tradition. But if you look at any photos of Scottish railway buildings and other industrial buildings, they invariably have same pattern. Books on brick building usually call this pattern 'Garden Bond', but I've read that it used to be also referred to as 'Scottish Bond'.
So if you want your Caley model railway brick buildings to be authentic, then most brick paper or embossed brick styrene isn't strictly accurate....!

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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by JimG »

Didn't the Caledonian also use glazed bricks, as on the stations on the L&D.

Jim G.
John Duffy
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by John Duffy »

We used to refer to 1 course in 3 being Scottish Bond and also the very common 1 course in 5 as Scottish Garden Wall.

Angus McIntosh
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by Angus McIntosh »

I have started on some of my reading material received at Christmas. In "Historic Clydesdale, Parish by Parish" the section on Braidwood Parish refers to the Brickworks at Nellfield specialising in Engineering and Facing Bricks, famed for their hard and durable properties leading to them being used in the Loudonhill Viaduct on the Strathaven and Darvel Railway.

Jim Summers
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by Jim Summers »

Here is a photo showing the brickwork in the platform at Tillietudlem, taken yesterday, which may illustrate some of the points mentioned.

P1241765 compressed.JPG
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by lindsay_g »

That platform looks very similar to Dalry Road Station - part still exists if you clamber upwards behind Lidl's store - that's about all that does exist unfortunately (and evidence of the 2 platform entrances).

Jim Summers
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by Jim Summers »

Folk booking on our forthcoming tour to the Mid-Lanarkshire lines (details in The True Line) will of course be able to see much more of the Tillietudlem platforms and brick waiting shelter.
The coach is filling up, so don't delay booking too long.

Jim S
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Re: Caley Bricks


Perth turntable well


Perth Turntable.jpg
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John Paton
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by John Paton »

I've had a look through a number of drawings of stations that were brick-built or included brick in their construction, and also costing information on the L&A stations. Unfortunately none contains a specification of the actual brick. The only reference to the type of brick is a note on the drawing of Creagan station on the Ballachulish branch which states "red terra-cotta brick, 9" thick".

I suspect that a more detailed statement on brick type and quality will have existed on contract specifications between the CR and contractors. I remember reading such a document in the National Archives (then West Register House) regarding the contract to build Benderloch station, but unfortunately I didn't take notes and can't now recall what specification it gave.

David Blevins
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by David Blevins »

I have a "Yellow" Brick which I rescued from the burnt down wreckage of Newhouse Station in Lanarkshire. I believe the Wooden structure must have been destroyed in a Fire in the 1980's as I have pictures of the Station up to 1979, and the Brick would have come from the Chimney Breasts of the Station Building, which was decorated in the "Caley style" of Red & Yellow Bricks. Newhouse Station was on the Branch from Airdrie and was opened in 1888, an extension of the Maryhill to Airdrie Caledonian route.
The interesting thing about the "Yellow" Brick is that it is embossed or cast with the name " Thos King & Co. Bellside " which was a Brickworks to the South of Newhouse, only a mile or two away. I would say the Bricks for this Station and possibly others on the Airdrie Line were sourced from Local Brickworks to CR Specifications.
A little more information to add to the discussion and I hope it is of Interest.

David Blevins.
Dave John
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Re: Caley Bricks

Post by Dave John »

Myself and the caledonian pup were walking the Kelvin valley , and came across this example of 3+1 brickwork. The local " street artists" have kindly coloured it in for us modellers and historians. Its actually supporting the canal embankment and is in engineering brick.
scot bond brick 1.JPG
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