The street names for some of the newly developed roads in Camp Hill have been carefully chosen to reflect the areas rich heritage. If you’ve ever walked around one of the new build areas and thought ‘I wonder where that name came from?’ take a look below.
Camp Hill was for a time home to the 18th century inventor John Barber who moved to Warwickshire in the 1760s to manage Haunchwood Colliery. He lived in Camp Hill House (thought to be a building on the site of the later Elizabethan style mansion Camp Hill Hall.)
John’s best known invention was the gas turbine in 1791. He was the first person to describe the principle of the gas turbine in detail, which was a remarkable concept given the early date and the limitations on coal and gas production at the time.
John was well regarded as a man of universal knowledge including philosophy, mineralogy and mechanics. He was also respected as a liberal benefactor who managed to build his fortune by benefiting mankind.
Blue Brick Lane
The famous Haunchwood ‘Blue’ Brick was produced by the Haunchwood Brick and Tile Works, which stood in the eastern section of what is today Whittleford Park. The Works opened in 1875 and quickly became an industrial powerhouse and main employee in the area.
The bricks were renowned for their quality and widely used throughout Britain and aboard. They can be found all over the world today from the Lamb and Flag building in Stockingford to purportedly the Empire State Building in New York. You can see similar bricks today by taking a look at the commemorative seating area built by Barratts at the top of Brights Road.
Sadly the business closed in the 1970s and is now demolished. Today the factory site has returned to nature but you can still find evidence of past industrial processes among the Park’s copses, ponds and pathways.
Brights Road takes it’s name from the coal mined at Haunchwood Colliery (also known as Nowells Colliery.) The colliery took it’s coal from the Thick section of the Warwickshire Coalfield which generally yielded up highly volatile, bituminous coal which burns with a bright flame.
Haunchwood Brick and Tile Company extracted clay from the ground from the late 1800s, creating a deep pit known as Clay Hole No 1 which later flooded. In the mid 1980s after the works were closed, a Derelict Land Reclamation Scheme saw the deep and murky water in the Pool drained and partly infilled to form a shallow pool which was then left to fill in naturally. Today the Clay Pool is a pleasant nature area for the local community and can be found on the western side of Whittleford Park between the park and Woodford Close.
Aaron Cowburn was the first under manager at Haunchwood Colliery in the very late 1800s. Unfortunately he lost his life at the colliery in a disastrous fire in May 1917. He was a popular man and his grave stone was, ‘erected as a token of respect by the workmen of the Haunchwood Collieries.’ The stone can still be seen in Bucks Hill Cemetery today.
Dry Bread Lane
Stockingford Colliery was also known as ‘Dry Bread Colliery’. There are several stories about how ‘Drybread’ got its name but the most interesting one appeared in a local paper. The story was that when the last brick was place on a newly built chimney, the builders had to forgo their usual celebratory serving of ale as the people who operated the mine at the time were of the temperance persuasion. We can only imagine the tired and thirsty workers reactions. The name was initially given to just the chimney, but soon spread to encompass the whole pit.
Long Kiln Road
Haunchwood Brick and Tile Works used long kilns to fire their blue and other types of bricks from the late 19th century. Long kilns were longer continuous type kilns that the bricks moved through on a series of cars. The kilns were room temperature at both ends with a heating source in the middle. The bricks entered at one end of the building, slowly heated up as they moved towards the middle, stayed at a constant heat travelling through the middle and slowly cooled back down as they moved towards the other end.
Long kilns came about as a result of the industrial revolution and the need for better ways to produce volumes of goods. The system was faster and less labour intensive (eg there was no need for a worker to load and unload the bricks when going from pre firing, to firing and then to cool down.) The system was also heat efficient as there was less cold air infiltration than there would would be with transporting bricks between the different stages.
Haunchwood Colliery was also known as the Nowells Colliery as a result of being owned by the Haunchwood Nowells Company. The pit is now closed but the site can be seen today adjacent to Tunnel Road in Galley Common.
Records indicate that the Nowells Colliery site was producing coal as early as 1729. The Nowells came along in the early 1850s when John Nowell purchase the colliery, which stayed in the family’s hands until the 1880s when it was bought by Alfred Hickman. The colliery ceased winding in 1925 and two submersible pumps were employed to keep the seams free from water until the colliery closed completely in 1967.
Seven Foot Lane
The Seven Foot seam was a Lower Coal Measure Seam in the Warwickshire Coal Field. A Coal Measure is a coal bearing succession of rock layers inbetween layers of other materials. Lower measures are an older and deeper layer of rock than middle measures. The Seven Foot seam was not considered to be one of the higher quality seams.
The Nine Foot seam, part of the Warwickshire Thick Seam’ was known as the ‘Slate Coal’ seam due to the coal itself being a grey colour and similar looking to the slate surrounding it.
Warwickshire coal seams would usually occur adjacent to slate. The slate would often contain fossils, which were not found in the coal. Collieries would use coal breakers to firstly break the coal into pieces of a nearly uniform size and secondly removable impurities like slate. Pre 1900s the process would be labour intensive often with women or children being used, in the later years increasing mechanisation fortunately meant that the use of children was phased out.
As well as great bricks the Haunchwood Brick and Tile Company made ceramic floor, quarry and roofing tiles. The company merged with Lewis Tile Makers in 1968, expanding it’s tile production but unfortunately the merged company had to go into voluntary liquidation in 1973. Lewis Tile Makers carried on trading solo.
Two Yard Lane
The Two Yard coal seam was a Middle Coal Measure Seam, newer than Seven Foot and nearer to the surface. Two Yard was part of the Warwickshire ‘Thick Seam’ which was actually made up of seven seperate smaller seams which ran together to make the ‘Warwickshire Thick’ which was up to an amazing 9 metres thick. Two Yard coal was nearest to the surface and was considered the best local coal.