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Monument record MDR7744 - Former Coppice Side Sanitary Pipe Works (aka Anchor Works / Wraggs / Hepworth's), Swadlincote

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SK 3018 1945) Sanitary Pipe Works marked on the OS map of 1877 (1). Marked as Sanitary Works in 1902 (2), Anchor Works in 1925 and 1938 (3-4) and just as Works in 1977 (5) Still in use as a sanitary pipe works. Many 19th century brick industrial buildings are still in use, but the kilns as mapped on source 5 are no longer extant. (6) Recorded in 1974 as being of interest because of the existence of 15 beehive-type kilns, which were built as coal-fired units, but which were converted to gas/oil(?) with exhaust vents and ducting at the throat of the kiln. There are approximately 16 fire holes [in 1974]. (7) Historically this site is of significance both locally and nationally, being one of the largest and the earliest in Swadlincote. A firebrick works was established here by John Hunt in 1790 and there is said to have been a datestone on the works, bearing the date 1790, fronting Coppice Side. By 1838 it had been taken over by Thomas Woodward and was described as 'Brick-yard, Kilns, Sheds and Buildings'. In 1842 it is known to have been producing firebricks, bricks and tiles. In 1859, under Thomas's son James, the production of sewage pipes, terracotta chimneypots and vases was added, with development continuing so that during the last quarter of the century there were two distinct branches of the business, one for sanitary ware and the other for sanitary pipes and terra cotta. By the early 20th century the most important products were sewerage pipes, urinal slabs, white and coloured glazed bricks and Belfast sinks. Several old buildings on the site today are lined with the firm's own glazed bricks, in white, green and brown. The northern part of the site was devoted to pipe making, the south to sinks and bricks. During the 1960s and 70s the works, known by that time as the Anchor Works, were extensively modernised, with no major changes taking place after 1978. The development of the site can be traced on successive maps and plans from 1827 onwards. The 1827 plan shows the site at a time when it was still a firebrick works, and the buildings all stood towards the east side of the croft they were founded in. The outlines of the buildings suggest rectilinear structures. By 1873 the works had developed extensively. There was a large rectangular main building among fifteen circular kilns, and the site was connected to the Granville Colliery by a tramway that went via a tunnel under Coppice Side and part of the works. The tunnel apparently still exists but has been blocked off for many years. By 1900 the works had again grown extensively and included a building on the northern side that comprised a bank of four bottle ovens in a line, enclosed within a 'hovel' building. These were demolished in 1961. By 1921 a railway link to Swadlincote Goods Station had been added and there were 28 beehive kilns on the site. These were in decline by the late 1930s as they were being superseded by chamber kilns, so that in 1937 there were only 15 beehive kilns and three new chamber kilns. The rebuilding and demolition work that took place as part of the modernisation of the 1960s and 1970s has meant that the quality and quantity of historic buildings on the site today is limited but nonetheless important. They include the remains of one of the old beehive ovens, still containing its final charge of pipes, as well as a range of late 19th and early 20th century buildings. (8) In 2010 a programme of historic building recording was conducted on the four buildings remaining from the former Hepworths Factory, prior to their refurbishment. The buildings had the following functions: Building A - Joiners' shop, blacksmiths' shop and principal chimney; Building B - fitters' shop; Building C: engine house, grinding house, drying rooms and laboratory; and Building D: stores and office. All but building A had suffered fire damage, however, which restricted the amount of recording that could be undertaken. Most of the original fittings had been removed along with most of the machinery, leaving only occasional bases for plant, rods and flywheels. Although the buildings were in generally poor condition, they revealed sequences of construction and modification throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. (9) The heavily truncated bases of two 'beehive' kilns were revealed during archaeological investigation on the site of the former Hepworths Factory in 2010. One kiln dated to around 1900, the other to 1961. Some bricks manufactured at the site were collected from the demolition layers, including bricks with coloured glazes and bricks stamped with a Woodward stamp. A selection of this material will be kept as part of the site archive. (10)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Map: OS. 1877. OS County Series: Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE.
  • <2> Map: OS. 1902. OS County Series: 1: 10560. Derbys LX NE/ Leics XV NE. 1: 10560.
  • <3> Map: OS. 1925. OS County Series 1:10560: Derbys LX NE/ Leics XV NE. 1@10560.
  • <4> Map: OS. 1938. OS County Series 1: 10 560. Derbys LX NE/Leics XV NE. 1:10560.
  • <5> Map: OS. 1977. OS 1:10000. 1:10000.
  • <6> Unpublished document: S. Malone. 1994. New National Forest Project.
  • <7> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Brickworks, Swadlincote.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Heath, P (South Derbyshire District Council). 2007. James Woodward Limited, Swadlincote, A Study of the "Anchor Works" 1790-1978. 2nd edition.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Capon, L (AOC Archaeology). 2010. Former Hepworths Factory, Swadlincote Retail Park, Swadlincote, Derbyshire. A Historic Building Record.. HER Doc. No. 1488.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Capon, L (AOC Archaeology). 2012. Former Hepworths Factory, Swadlincote Retail Park, Swadlincote, Derbyshire: Results of an Archaeological Strip, Map and Record.



Grid reference Centred SK 30107 19433 (231m by 293m) Approximate

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR2984
  • EDR2884
  • EDR3034

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Record last edited

Jan 28 2024 5:06PM

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