Washington County Durham


Memories of ...

Usworth Brickyard

Chimney Mystery

That's Usworth Brickyard Chimney in the centre background ... or is it?

( Read on ... and you decide! )

Future Washington Fireman Stan Allsopp (Right) in a garden behind Usworth Station Road (mid-1920s)
(Thanks to Stan's son, John)

1. The line of sight from the boys in this garden to the Mystery Chimney passes over the rooftops of Pensher View.
2. Usworth Colliery Upcast Shaft and the Downcast Shaft Winder House are behind and to the left of the Mystery Chimney.
3. The Downcast Shaft Headgear (steel frame and pulley wheels) is slightly to the right of the Mystery Chimney.
4. Stan was born in 1921, so this picture was probably taken in 1924 to 1926.  If it was pre-1926, that would be very significant (see later).

Now let's examine more evidence by working our way through a few pictures of Usworth Brickyard Chimney, starting on the next Tab.

Two Usworth Lads with Usworth Brickyard Chimney in the Background

James Gill - Edge of Usworth Pit Heap  [Photo: Laura Simpson]
(Late 1960s)

Thomas Copeman - Usworth School Field  [Photo: Mr R. Bonney]
(May 1959)

1. This Chimney is approximately 70 metres from Waterloo Road, which runs horizontally between the Brickyard and Pawson's Factory.
2. The terrace in the centre of the first picture is Pensher View.  The nearest house to Waterloo Road is approximately 80 metres away.
3. The Brickyard Chimney (built 1926, demolished June 1972) is on the west side of Waterloo Road; Pensher View is on the east side.

The Demolition of Usworth Brickyard Chimney

Spectators, Water Tanks, Brickyard Chimney, Upcast Shaft & Lamp Cabin, Downcast Winder House & Headgear  (June 1972)
(Courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums)

1. The Brickyard Chimney is a substantial distance to the west of the Usworth Downcast Shaft Headgear.
2. Pensher View and Usworth Station Road Gardens are a long way off-picture, right.

Please move on to the next Tab.

The View down Edith Avenue and along Waterloo Road to Usworth Colliery

Usworth Colliery Upcast Shaft (far left), Downcast Shaft Winder House (far right)

1. The Brickyard Chimney is approximately 70 metres to the left of the place where Waterloo Road curves left and out of sight.
2. The first house in Pensher View is approximately 80 metres to the right of the white building (Pawson's Factory) at the bottom of the bank.
3. Don't forget: Usworth Station Road Gardens start a couple of hundred metres to the right of Edith Avenue and stretch to Usworth Station.

Please move on to the next Tab.

Usworth Brickyard Chimney and the Winder House

Across Usworth Brickyard Kilns, looking north-east, to Usworth Colliery Winder House & Headgear.  (May 1965)

This Brickyard opened in 1926 and closed down in 1966.  From 1967-71 it was used to produce foam-slag cement blocks.
(Courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums)

1. Waterloo Road passes horizontally between the far end of the two kilns and the land in front of Old Row.  See right edge of picture.
2. Imagine that you're on the Headgear platform (next to the pulley wheels) and take a look in the direction of the 130 ft high Chimney.
    What's behind it?  Well, it certainly won't be Pensher View or Station Road Gardens; you'll be looking towards the New Inn Corner!

Please move on to the next Tab.

Usworth Brickyard Chimney and the Downcast Shaft Headgear

Views 'to and from' the Colliery Headgear

1. You'd need to view Usworth Brickyard Chimney from the direction of the New Inn Corner to see the Headgear slightly to its right.
    You might like to take another look at the Brickyard Chimney relative to Tom Copeman on the School Playing Field (Tab 2).
2. Views from Station Road Gardens across Pensher View rooftops cannot include Usworth Brickyard Chimney close to the Headgear!

CONCLUSION: The Mystery Chimney in Stan Allsopp's superb boyhood picture is NOT Usworth Brickyard Chimney!

•   •   ◊   •   •

Maybe it was an old colliery chimney (Springwell Colliery had one.) or perhaps this was the site of an earlier brickyard.
 Who knows?  Over to you guys!

Usworth Brickyard Chimney