Selborne Brickworks or Tower Brick and Tile Company Limited as it was known before it closed its doors in 2009 is an easy explore on the surface. There is no 24-hour security or 6-foot fencing. However, the first time we tried to enter we drove straight past as the police were parked outside. Reportedly, the neighbours aren’t fond of those who explore this abandoned site!
History of Selborne Brickworks
Bricks have been made on the Selborne site from 1872 until its closure. At its height up to 50,000 bricks were produced a week. Selborne was one of the many brickworks that closed its doors after the economic crisis in 2008. The feel is that the employees went home one day and have never returned. The claypits in the area have been around since the Roman period and bricks were made by hand. Each brick was handled at least 5 times during production which meant that each one was unique. It’s unfortunate that this local business did not survive the recession, but it does make a fantastic explore.
After our first failed visit due to the police presence, the second visit was fairly simple. We headed into the main manufacturing building first as this is the biggest and most enticing space on the site. Inside this building was the imposing machinery needed to press, fire, cut and store the handmade bricks. Both inside and outside are piles of bricks with Selborne pressed into them. These look ready to be shipped to customers at any moment.
The huge space inside the building is taken up by the brick-making machinery. Although not an expert in brick manufacturing it was easy to spot the wire cutters and the kilns and follow the process through. There is some graffiti around the site but overall, there is minimal damage for an open site that has been left for a decade. We managed to squeeze our way into the office which was filled with posters and magazines of barely clothed women. It looked as if there had been more at one point and potentially other explorers had taken these home as mementos.
Towards the back of the building we made sure to tread carefully. The building is collapsing here and is partly flooded. It looks as if the land had been dug up and the clay and sludge had been brought inside. This didn’t dampen the exploration too much and there was still lots to see. Heading outside and into the open really took my breath away. The humongous machinery was so imposing upon the countryside landscape. It felt like something out of an apocalyptic film!
There have been numerous suggestions regarding the future of the site. Many people want to revitalise the site as a brickwork. In 2012, planning permission was granted for an anaerobic digester which would turn waste into biomethane gas to power the furnaces. This is yet to happen. In 2016, the owner of the brickworks was fined for damaging the habitat of a protected species of newt. The fine was £1,165 alongside over £200 in court costs. Work carried out on the site had drained the lake containing gold-crested newts. The space has been abandoned for over a decade and it doesn’t look like this is going to change anytime soon.
Last Updated on 19 January 2022 by Michael