Selborne Brickworks, Hampshire

There’s an old mantra in Urban Exploring circles, “Everywhere is worth exploring, not everything is worth reporting” – and Selborne Brickworks fell pretty close to that rule. So much so it’s been over five months since I was there and continuously flicked through my photos wondering whether they’re of interest at all to anyone but myself!?

Selborne bricks
Selborne stamped bricks, loaded on crates and awaiting pick-up.

However, after looking in to the history of the site I found that Selborne Bricks have been hand-made in the village since 1872. The historic significance of the Tower Brick & Tile Company Ltd site immediately warranted it’s inclusion in my reports, no matter what my feelings are towards the photos I took.

Tower Brick & Tile Company Limited, as it was known in the last days of trading, went in to administration in November 2009 and finally dissolved in August 2011. The yard has the all too familiar feel that business here just stopped one day and everyone upped & left. Stacks of bricks all marked with the Selborne stamp awaiting pick-up that never came. Fired tiles sit in racks and more lay behind, waiting patiently for their turn. I almost feel sorry for them writing this!

After a short walk around the outside we ventured in to ‘front of house’ – a porta-kabin laden with centre pages of porn magazines blu-tacked to the walls. A practice which is vastly becoming a thing of the past in male-dominated professions. I can’t imagine many modern organisations allowing it these days. Brochures line the floor showing off the different styles of brick & tile available to prospective buyers.

While it felt like Selborne brickworks wasn’t going to yield much in the way of an explore, we were there for a couple of hours, the shed was huge and every part of the way to the end there was something to investigate, photograph & ponder how it worked. The gigantic machinery and what can only be described as a massive mixing bowl filled the end of the shed with pulleys, belts & gears stretching off in all directions with a sticky, dark tar-like substance saturating the floor around it.

With a few more sites to check out in the day, much bigger fish to fry, we packed up and were on our way south…

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. Amy says:

    Any update on this location?

    1. Gem says:

      I went there today. It’s still in good condition and entry is easy.
      No security at all just farmers working in their fields.

      It’s BEAUTIFUL and there is stuff that has been left. Nothing has been taken out

      Give it a go :)

      1. Barry says:

        I worked there for just over a year it was hard work as the bricks were sanded by hand when it was just wet clay.
        It made me physically fit though ?

    2. Ian Gourlay says:

      Interesting seeing the photos and the comments. My Uncle and Aunt (Alf and Jean Smith) lived next to the brickworks on Honey Lane. My Uncle Alf worked there and I was always under the assumption that he was owner/part owner of the brickworks.

      I used to visit them frequently in the 1970s, coming down from Glasgow when I was still at school. In 1974 I stayed there all summer when I was 12. My Uncle had me working in the brickyard, starting at 7am. I remember cutting the clay with the cheese wire and using the brick mould/stamper which came down with great force. Health and safety regulations were obviously not observed well then!

      I also used to go out with the lorry driver delivering the bricks all over the south of England. The driver was a scouser called Frank, and we once delivered bricks to a house near Wentworth golf course. It was Bruce Forsyth’s house!

      1. Lara says:

        My grandfather Raymond Wright owned the brickworks until he retired and eventually sold the site. He lived about 5 minutes walk up the road on Honey Lane and I too spent a lot of my childhood in the late 70s and 80s at the brickworks.

        He was a Naval engineer in WW2, and left Southampton to start working as an employee at the brickworks after he had 2 girls with his wife Enid. Family legend says the previous owner liked Grandad so much he left him the brickworks in his will, so he inherited the business and stepped up in the world to become a man of substance. He was very proud of that.

        He was a serious stern wiry man, a hard grafter. He never talked about his War experiences, like many in his generation, he just wanted to look forward and build a better future. The brickworks helped build 1000s of new houses after the War. We were all so sad when it finally closed.

        I wonder who stripped it out, and what will happen to it now.

        1. Doreen Crocker says:

          Just to put the record straight I would point out that Mr Bell the owner of this Brickyard left it to four people after he sadly died while on a cruising holiday in the early 1960’s. They were Raymond Wright who was general manager, Alfred Smith (my father) general foreman. Mr Wardle, yard foreman and Mrs Abraham, company secretary. They ran the business between them as shareholders and directors until as they approached retirement they agreed to sell to a Colonel Benham-Cresswell who had also bought a nearby farm. Dad continued working there until he retired and received a gold watch for 50yrs service including time in the RAF in India during the war. The yard had been modernised with a gas fired kiln and an on-site office building. The next owners were I believe Michelmersh Brick Company who must have sold it on I guess until it eventually went out of business. (We had lived next door at “Ajax” and Mr Wright lived next to us)

          1. Brian says:

            I worked there many years, yep they were the bosses, and Alf was my Dads best man. Started there when I was just over 17, did a good few years, I’m 68 now but with hand on heart it was the best job I ever had.

            1. Doreen Crocker . ( Smith ) says:

              High Brian. I should know who Dad was best man to, but I don’t. I would have only been about 5 so without a surname I have no clue. It was great to hear you enjoyed working there and I know Dad loved the place right up until he retired.

              1. Brian says:

                Hi Doreen, Len Lucas or William Albert Leonard Lucas, mum was Marjorie Ann Grove, your dad was a good boss as was the others, say hello if he’s still with us (hope so)

                1. Doreen Crocker . ( Smith ) says:

                  Hi Brian. Sorry I must have been too young to remember. Sadly we lost dad in 2002 he would have been 103 this year. It was a heart attack so he didn’t suffer thank goodness. As you say they were a great lot. He would be very sad that it has all gone now. The last we saw of the place it was derelict but still there. Much larger than when we lived next door. Did your dad live at Firgrove?

              2. Brian Lucas says:

                Hi Doreen, sorry to hear you lost your dad.
                Yes it was Firgrove (12) I haven’t been back that way for many years, but what I’ve seen on the net the brick works is a mess, such a shame, still the memories are all good, they truly were the good old days. Thank you for this chat, it’s been nice to think of it all and my time there, wish you and your family the best.

      2. Sam says:

        What year did they move? Was it the house directly next door?

    3. Jake says:

      Everything has been removed, I’ve just been there :(

      1. Cameron L says:

        Yes, unfortunately earlier this year a group of around 3-4 diggers came in and took it all apart slowly, they tore it all out, gathered the scrap metal out the front, and then removed it all. The Office (still, to my knowledge, inaccessible due to large metal grates) remains untouched inside and the actual building and smoke tower remain but all the “interesting” internals and machinery are now gone.

        I know of this due to the fact that I visited around 4 times while the place was being stripped out – Once before in the pictured state then returned around 1 week later to find diggers and a half-stripped out inside – returning every 2/3 days after that I slowly saw the place be stripped out until it is in its current state as described above.

        1. emasies says:

          The office is open one of the lower windows on the door has been smashed. Rather interesting in there, loads of sample mini bricks and a scrapbook of all their achievements as a business. Worth a look before it gets trashed/stolen.

          1. Mark says:

            I worked there for about three years, it was hard work but good money. Health and Safety was out the window in those days. But there was a good group of people. Cold in winter and hot in summer, especially when you had to go in the kiln.

    4. Wayne says:

      Worked there for 10 years. Brings back memories.

  2. Bookey Boiz says:

    Went there last night, amazing how it’s not been destroyed. Left in a hurry when we thoguht we heard someone inside with us. Parts were flooded and very swampy but it’s a really good explore!

  3. Mark says:

    Went here last night. Easy little wall to hop and you’re in! Not much left there now still a lot of machinery, nice little look around and then left. No security and pretty quiet site.

  4. Coral says:

    I love this place – visited yestday for a shoot! So much potential for a photographer even without a model!
    No security what so ever I was there for 6 hours climbing and exploring the beautiful location!
    Enjoy guys!

  5. Chris White says:

    I worked at the Selborne brickworks after leaving school around 1976. The photos of the brick trolleys and the wire cutter bring back strong memories.

    Everything was done by hand.

    1. Tina says:

      Hello. Strange request I know. I have a pottery glaze recipe that includes Selbourne clay. Can you please tell me what colour the clay is in that area? Also long shot but do you know of anyone who is doing any building work in the area that might let me gather some?
      Thanks in advance.

      1. Chris White says:

        Hi Tina

        From memory the clay was a grey colour and dug from the on-site clay pit. It was mixed with coal dust for brick making.

        1. Wayne says:

          The clay was blue. We used to mix it with builders sand to make bricks

        2. Brian Lucas says:

          Hi all,

          Worked there back in in the 70s for many years, four bosses then, great place to work, hard work and it was peace work, £1 a thousand, clay and dark grey mixed with coal dust and sand, those were the days, great team back then…

  6. Alex Rhodes says:

    Being patrolled by a man in a yellow van during the day.

  7. Aimee says:

    Visited today and had a great look around until a man in a cider company van came and told us that we shouldn’t be there and ensured that we left. We didn’t dare return as didn’t fancy being arrested after being let off the first time.

    1. Jamie alley says:

      What’s the address?

      1. Aimee says:

        Didn’t have one, we walked there from Bordon, pretty easy to find. But wouldn’t suggest going

  8. Ben Charlton says:

    Went there today and it was all fine, easy to climb over a wall by one of the gates and easy to get out of. Parked in a little lay-by next it. No security or anything.

    1. Alex Rhodes says:

      Is it all still good now?

      1. Ben Charlton says:

        I’d assume so considering I went just under a week ago

  9. Charles Barton says:

    Hi guys,
    I am doing my final major project for uni and really want to visit the place. Have I got the right place? Honey Lane, Alton, GU34 3BS


  10. Rhonny says:

    Hey! I went here today as part of my project for Photography in college and though I did not physically go inside the brickworks I got photos from outside which worked well for me. When we were looking around, a car came down and told us that the guy who owns it apparently isn’t that keen on ‘visitors’ due to vandalism from kids which is quite sad really and so wouldn’t risk going in, which is fair enough. There’s no security around as far as I know, though a lot of barbed wire.

  11. Eidminas says:

    Hey all, went a couple of weeks ago for an A-level project it’s extremely easy to get into, everything is still there but there isn’t much place to park a car so you will need to walk a bit. Apart form that it’s a very cool location to visit and take some photos.

    1. Stu says:

      I’m thinking of doing a Photoshoot with a model up there, is it still guarded by a security guard?

      1. Eidminas says:

        Didn’t think they ever had security there, but there are three houses right next to the factory so would be careful that you don’t attract too much attention as am uncertain on how they will react.

  12. Dan P says:

    A really creepy but cool location, I used to work there :)

    1. Thomas Steckler says:

      Dear Dan,

      My name is Thomas Steckler and I am currently at university in the process of planning a Photo-Journalism based documentary for our course. Our main idea for our documentary will be based on Abandoned Locations with the viewing platform of VR and we are hoping to be able to film in Selborne Brickworks as one of our possible locations.

      We are looking towards people to interview as part of the documentary to share more insight into the location’s past, why it was closed, what it was like to work there etc. Is there any possibility you’d be willing to help us with this whether it’s through a written interview or more preferably a recorded message for us or depending on location if we could film an interview with you. My email address is:

      We look forward to hearing back from you.

      Kind regards,

  13. Sammy J says:

    Great photos! ;)

  14. Callum says:

    Where exactly is this brickworks?

    1. steve says:

      Did you manage to find the location to this if so could I have it? :)

    2. Roo says:

      Just Google Selborne Brickworks Hampshire, the second or third link down has the postcode attached to it

  15. Jodie says:

    Hiya, how easy was this to get into for photos? Is it still there?

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      I would assume it’s still there. As for access, no problems at all.

      1. Sarah P says:

        Visited earlier this summer. Not sure how people are getting access as the site has security fencing, CCTV and a security guard who immediately calls the police even if you are just standing outside!

        If someone knows how to get in avoiding all this, I’d be interested to know!

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Sounds like you’re in the wrong place?!

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