Historic Sites of Manitoba: Sidney Brickworks (Sidney, Municipality of North Norfolk)
In 1909, the Sidney Brick & Tile Company (SBTC) Limited was established in what is now the Municipality of North Norfolk. The founding partnership of North Norfolk residents included implement dealer Hugh Edwards Hamilton, lumber agent Albert Edward Hilder, brickmaker George Stenhouse, station agent Daniel James McFarlane, and farmer Algernon Micklewright. They applied for charter of incorporation via Letters Patent on 18 January 1909. It was granted on 26 February, with an initial capital stock of $50,000, and all members served as the the firm’s first directors. Two years later, a brickworks was erected at a site near Sidney and a spur line was built from the Canadian Pacific Railway main line. From here, its red bricks, pressed face bricks, and wire-cut common bricks were transported to construction sites throughout Manitoba, 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 10 circular down-draft kilns (of 35 feet diameter each) where they were fired at high temperature (by coal or gas) to full hardness.
With the onset of the First World War, and resulting demand on both labour and material elsewhere, the facility was closed. By the spring of 1915, the Court of Kings Bench in Winnipeg placed the company into liquidation under the Winding Up Act. The process was undertaken by William Patrick Sloane (1859-1932), with supplemental liquidation powers bestored by Justice Metcalfe and Justice Macdonald during 1915 and 1916. Though some company assets were sold, the process was sufficiently slow that the company survived past the 1918 Armistice and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. With remaining matters eventually wrapped up, Sloane was discharged from his liquidator duties on 22 December 1919.
In the spring of 1919, while the company was undergoing liquidation, the Sidney Brick & Clay Works (SBCW) Limited was founded at London, England. On 1 March 1919, the private company was granted incorporation, by the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies (Somerset House, London) via Memorandum of Association under The Companies Act. The initial capital stock was 30,000 British Pounds Sterling, with its headquarters in London. One of its founding articles specified the acquisition of all remaining SBTC assets. A license to carry on business in Manitoba was granted to the SBCW on 28 October 1919. The company appointed Humphrey R. Drummond-Hay as their Power of Attorney and Official Agent/Manager in Manitoba, in which capacity he served until 30 March 1927 when he was succeeded by George F. Goulding. The site was operated by the SBCW until being purchased by the Alsip Brick & Tile Company in May 1928.
Under the Alsips, 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 Alsips 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:
Carberry Plains: Century One, 1882-1982 by Carberry History Committee, 1982, page 187. [Manitoba Legislative Library, F5648.C36 Car]
“Brick,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 August 1909, page 20.
“City Hall notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 August 1914, page 5.
“Notice - [...] The Winding Up Act [...] Sidney Brick & Tile Company, Limited,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 April 1915, page 2.
“Liquidator’s sale of the assets of The Sidney Brick & Tile Co., Limited [...],” Manitoba Free Press, 30 November 1918, page 2.
“The Sidney Brick & Tile Co. Ltd. liquidator’s sale of assets,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 December 1918, page 2.
“Brick Manufacturers [Sidney Brick & Clay Works Ltd.,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 January 1921, page 16.
“Sidney [The Sidney Brick and Tile Co. has resumed operations ...]," Macgregor Herald, 28 June 1923, page 5.
“Eaton’s daily store news,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 February 1928, page 24.
“Sidney Brick factory bought by Alsip Company,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 May 1928, page 18.
“Playtime Inn,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1932, page 3.
“William P. Sloane, former Manager of Bank, is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 December 1932, page 5.
Orders-in-Council (EC 0003B), Order-in-Council #32449 & 45456, GR1530, Archives of Manitoba.
Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 149S - Sidney Brick & Tile Company Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.
Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 468S - Sidney Brick & Clay Works Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.
Court of Queen’s Bench Winding Up Act pockets (ATG 0015), #1100 - Sidney Brick & Tile Company Limited, GR0195, Archives of Manitoba.
We thank David Thiessen, Neil Christoffersen, and Fred Lintott for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 18 January 2020
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