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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Sidney Brickworks (Sidney, RM of North Norfolk)

Link to:
Photos & Maps | Sources

In 1909, the Sidney Brick and Tile Company began operations, erecting a brickworks two years later at a site near Sidney in the Rural Municipality of North Norfolk. It supplied red-coloured brick for the construction of numerous buildings throughout Manitoba, and other places in Canada and the United States.

After bricks were pressed into shape, they were loaded onto four-wheel trolleys and rolled along a narrow-gauge railway into a network of 7 or 8 underground tunnels, each about 50 meters in length. A large fan powered by a single-cylinder, coal-fired steam engine produced warm air that was blown through ductwork into the tunnels to assist in drying the moist bricks. When they were dry, the bricks were moved into one of five kilns where they were fired at high temperature to full hardness.

A shortage of labour as a result of the First World War led to closure of the facility in the early 1920s. Instead, clay quarried at the site was shipped to Winnipeg to be made into bricks there. In early 1942, bricks from the former kilns were salvaged by staff from the Carberry Air Force Base for use in building a swimming pool. The property was owned by Alsip’s Building Products until 1985 when it was sold as farmland to a local resident. A large depression over much of the site identifies the location of clay excavation. The foundations of several buildings are still visible, as are the remnants of the kilns, water wells, and a loading ramp to a now-removed railway siding on the adjacent Canadian Pacific Railway main line.

This site is on private property and trespassers are at risk from unmarked holes and other concealed obstacles. No visits are permitted.

Some of the buildings constructed of bricks from the Sidney Brickworks:

Building

Location

Year

Status

St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church

836 Arlington Street, Winnipeg

1913

 

Smart Bag Company Building

145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg

1913

 

Minto Armoury

969 St. Matthews Avenue, Winnipeg

1914

 

Eaton’s Mail Order Building

Winnipeg

?

 

Schools

Brandon

?

 

Photos

Sidney Brickyard

Buildings at the Sidney Brickworks (circa 1912)
Source: Manitoba Agricultural Museum (VirtualMuseum)

Sidney Brickworks

A postcard view of workers at the Sidney Brickworks, taken by photographer Edward Bates (date unknown)
Source: Rob McInnes, MN0600

Sidney Brickworks

A postcard view of the Sidney Brickworks, taken by photographer Edward Bates (date unknown)
Source: Rob McInnes, MN0584

Site of Sidney Brickyard

A metal pipe and concrete ring are all that remains of a well at the former brickyard site (September 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site of Sidney Brickyard

Distinctive red bricks from the former brickworks (September 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site of Sidney Brickyard

A tunnel where bricks were dried before transporting them to the kilns (September 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

See also:

MHS Centennial Business: Alsip’s Building Products and Services

Memorable Manitobans: William Pitt Alsip (1859-1944)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lac du Bonnet Brick Plant (Lac du Bonnet)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Leary Brickworks (RM of Lorne)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

MHS Resources: Manitoba Brick and Blocks

Sources:

Carberry Plains: Century One, 1882-1982 by Carberry History Committee, 1982, Manitoba Legislative Library, F5648.C36 Car, page 187.

We thank David Thiessen, Neil Christoffersen, and Fred Lintott for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 April 2017

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.


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