Thursday, January 05, 2006

Historical brick: Hazardous brick kiln

Longtown is a small market town in Cumbria, England, near the Scottish Border. This is from the pages of the Carlisle Journal during the 19th century:

Sudden Deaths and Inquests from the Longtown area

October 13th 1821

A widow woman of the name of Elizabeth Glendinning died in the infirmary at Dumfries yesterday week, after three weeks of the most painful suffering. This poor woman, while travelling between Longtown and Carlisle, had sat down by the side of a brick kiln, for the purpose of lighting her pipe, and while so employed, part of the heated bricks fell upon her and scorched her body in a dreadful manner... she was found in a very feeble state by some people who were passing, and who conveyed her to Gretna where she usually resided. After remaining there three days, she was conveyed to the Dumfries and Galloway infirmary, where it is needless to say the utmost attention was paid to her case, and the powers of medicine exhausted in endeavouring to alleviate if not remove the complaint under which she laboured.

The kiln concerned is likely, at that time, to be a clamp kiln or a Scotch kiln, both are rather open, and perhaps prone to collapsing. But very attractive to passers-by on a cold night or chilly early morning due to the warmth when being fired.

The home page of the Longtown website can be found here.

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