Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Building with Brick

This will be a rare beast in the history of this blog; a post without a photograph. I usually go out of my way to ensure that I have an archival picture or one that I have taken. Usually, they are images that I have taken. Since this post is coming from my in-laws house where I am on dial-up service, this post will be without extra images. As Anne who is one of our regular readers knows, dial-up and images do not go together. Don't worry, I am travelling with my camera so there will be pictures coming.

I mentioned that I would try to find bits of Annapolis Royal heritage to discuss while I am travelling in eastern Ontario. One of the most obvious architectural differences between this area and the Annapolis region is the use of bricks in building. As you drive through the countryside, there are countless houses built between 1850 and 1950 which are made from brick. In fact, the house I am currently sitting in was built in the 1890s and is made of brick. Ironically, this is not the case in Annapolis County. I say ironicaly because of the huge number of bricks produced in Annapolis County through the years.

The most obvious example of local brick production is the village of Brickton located between Bridgetown and Middleton. Another example is the Buckler Brickyard which was located behind the current location of the Annapolis West Education Centre's soccer fields. Using local clay, this facility produced bricks which were shipped around the world. None of these brick producers are in business today.

There are indeed some grand brick houses in Annapolis County. The Robinson House on upper St George Street and the Parker Farm in Granville Centre immediately come to mind. (This is normally where you would get a couple of pictures to illustrate my point). These houses are not the norm. Annapolis County has a long tradition of building with wood. This comes both from the local availability of quality wood but, also the shipping industry. When shipbuilders were not employed building vessels, they could easily translate their skills to house building. It is no suprise that bricks are not too useful in shipbuilding.

All you have to do to see how common brick production was is to take a walk on the waterfront just in front of the O'Dell House Museum. along with the broken bottles and ceramics, fragments of locally made brick litter the beach. In fact, I use the remains of a brick found on the waterfront to keep papers from blowing around when the front door of the O'Dell House Museum opens.

All for now,


  1. There are the remains of quite a few brickyards around my area in Annapolis County as well. And there is the Brickyard Road just this side of the bridge at Bridgetown. Although there are few brick faced houses, the brick was certainly used for chimneys - every house had one, if not more than one.

  2. Anne is entirely right of course. Brick chimneys and hearths are indeed common in Annapolis County. In other parts of Nova Scotia (Pictou, Antigonish), as well as the part of Ontatio where I am currently, field stone chimneys were normally used.

    A wonderful example of a chimney made from local handmade bricks can been seen at North Hills Museum. This wishbone chimney starts with two fireplaces on the ground floor and gracefully sweeps up to a single flue in the upstairs guest bedroom.