MHS Resources: Manitoba Bricks and Blocks: Balmoral Brick Company
John H. McClure was a lumberman by trade from the Stonewall-Balmoral area that manufactured bricks from 1905 to 1916 in the Balmoral area. He bought a farm south of Balmoral in the spring of 1904 because of the high-quality, brick-making clay found on the property. Having roughly 25 years of experience in the brick yards of Winnipeg, he began assembling a brick yard and workforce soon after the purchase of his property. His brick-making machinery arrived by May 1905 and McClure fired his first kiln of brick by late July. He sent his first shipment of brick to Winnipeg during the first week of September 1905. While his first batch of bricks was not considered perfect, their quality was excellent. The bricks he produced were a bright, pale yellow in colour, unlike the red brick that was produced from the deeper deposits of clay in the area. These bricks, which were marked with the stamp “B B Co” in the frog, sold for $10 per thousand bricks straight from the yard and $12 at the Farmer’s Cooperative Warehouse in Stonewall.
By 1906, McClure was operating four kilns at the yard site and it was said to be one of the busiest places in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood that summer. By July 1910, the brick yard was incorporated as the Balmoral Brick Company Limited. Most of the company’s principle investors were from Winnipeg but McClure remained at the forefront of the business. Late in 1912, the Balmoral Brick Company was sold to the Winnipeg Supply and Fuel Company, but it remained under its original name. In 1913, a new shed for drying brick (75 x 270 feet in size) was erected with a capacity to dry one million bricks at one time.
It was said the yard was closed during the First World War though the firm still existed as a part of Winnipeg Supply until 1926.
Stonewall Gazette, 29 March 1905, page 4; 3 May 1905, page 4; 24 May 1905, page 1; 31 May 1905, page 1; 28 June 1905, page 4; 2 August 1905, page 4; Commercial, 9 September 1905, page 33; Gazette, 6 September 1905, page 4; 20 September 1905, page 1.
Manitoba Brickmakers by Hugh Henry, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, 1992.
Manitoba Brick Yards by Randy Rostecki, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch Report, May 2010.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 May 2019