Saturday, March 28, 2015


When brick works

Just a short distance away from the ghost sign I noticed in my previous post is this building. I know a number of my regular readers appreciate a bit of brickwork, and the top of this structure seemed to fit the bill.

Now an office block, it began as Brown’s Barley Kernels Mill – barley-crushing being part of the brewing process – and was built for W. & G. Brown in the late 1880s. Although many of the more ornate Victorian industrial buildings used different colours of brick quite liberally and some are very plain, there are many that look plain at first glance but repay a second glance that allows you to take in the details. The Barley Kernels Mill is a good example. It shows only slight variations in colour – apart from the dark brick plinth and a very small amount of stone dressing, there are just a handful or two of blue bricks among the expanse of red. But up at the top of the walls, at cornice level, these bricks are handled with great vigour. The dentil course and the uppermost corbelled part with its ‘inverted triangle’ details exploit their material with economy but also, I’d say, considerable style. The brickwork seems designed to work well in good light and I was pleased I came across it when the sun was shining.


Stephen Barker said...

This building is an object lesson to modern architects and builders in the effective use of bricks.

bazza said...

I'm a brick boy! So thanks for posting. I totally agree with the first comment. How beautiful it is!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Shame about the COLOUR of the bricks in this case. Pale Derby and Nottingham bricks are difficult to respond to - for me at any rate. Derby an unbeautiful city - even Pugin's little church cut off by the ring road and daubed with graffiti. Anything to win me over to Derby would be useful. Liked the cathedral, but when one of the cleaners saw me taking notes she seemed to think I had come from Mars!

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thank you all for your comments. Personally I don't have any problem with the colour of these bricks: I suppose it's a matter of personal preference. I agree that Pugin's church is ill served by the road, though – that route does seem to slice ruthlessly through that part of the city.