London Calling: Forterra Celebrates 140 Years of the Original London Brick

London Calling: Forterra Celebrates 140 Years of the Original London Brick

Manufactured continuously since 1877, London Brick, which is also widely known as a ‘Fletton’ brick after its original place of manufacture near Peterborough, has been used in the building of almost a quarter of Britain’s housing stock.

If you don’t live in a home built from London Brick yourself then you will probably know someone who does, or will pass by one most days. It’s an astonishing legacy for a product that is still made the same way it was 140 years ago.

London Brick is made from Lower Oxford Clay, a rich seam of which runs from Dorset to Yorkshire. The hard clay is a raw material millions of years old. Its excavation has changed the landscape, created thousands of jobs, helped in the construction of some of our most recognisable buildings, and even created a wildlife reserve.

London Brick is known for its distinctive ‘frog’ feature – so termed because it resembled the indentation horses’ hooves made in the clay when they were transporting the raw material from pit to oven. As well as making the bricks easier to cut and handle, it is an important aspect in the firing process as it helps heat to travel through the bricks’ hard clay more quickly and evenly.

Over their 140-year history, London Bricks have been produced in their billions. In the late 19th Century, The London Brick Company, as it was then known, played a vital role in the construction and growth of the railways, delivering 25 million bricks by rail in 1895, alone.

The post-war years in particular were a boom time for London Brick as new houses were built to alleviate the housing crisis caused by bomb damage and the halt to housebuilding during the war. Increased production saw output reach 16 million bricks per day.

Today, London Brick is produced almost exclusively for the residential renovation, maintenance and improvement market. The 23 styles and colours in its range are designed to match the millions of homes built using London Bricks, as owners look to improve and extend their properties.

London Brick is one of the few building products whose fame reaches into the mainstream. It is a brand built on heritage, pride, quality and integrity and is supported by Forterra’s excellent customer service and detailed knowledge.

It receives loyal support from builders’ merchants, many of whom stock the full range of 23 colours and textures, and who provide a superb service to their customers.

Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of Forterra, commented: “London Brick is one of our most successful and recognisable brands, and we are privileged to be its current custodian. We wanted to mark its 140th anniversary by reminding everyone that London Brick is the original, and still the best.

“We have 140 days of activity planned – one day for every year that London Brick has been in production – from prize draws and trade days to charity fundraising. We are also encouraging builders and homeowners to become London Brick ambassadors by uploading photos of their London Brick projects onto social media”.

140 days to celebrate 140 years

To celebrate 140 years of London Brick and to commemorate both its history and its thriving position in the present-day building industry, Forterra has planned 140 days of activity, running from June until the end of October.

In addition to giving away £50,000 in prizes over the course of the 140 days, London Brick is a sponsor of SkillBuild 2017, a competition that sees the very best in construction talent compete against each other to be crowned the SkillBuild winner in their chosen trade.

Forterra has joined up with DIY expert Craig Phillips to champion its London Brick brand ambassador campaign. Craig will be encouraging builders and homeowners to upload a photo of a recent renovation project, such as a conservatory or extension, to social media, using #LondonBrick140. Entrants will have the chance to win £100 worth of prizes in a weekly draw.

Forterra will also be using the London Brick celebrations as an opportunity to raise funds for its chosen charities, Prostate Cancer UK and CRASH.

Look out for more information about the London Brick campaign, including terms and conditions and full details about the prizes on offer, in-store at your local merchant or visit

Forterra is a leading producer of manufactured masonry products in the UK, operating out of 17 different facilities and employing 1,600 people. London Brick is just one of Forterra’s extensive range of brands, which includes Thermalite, Jetfloor, Red Bank, Cradley, Conbloc, Formpave and Butterley and Ecostock bricks.

For further information on Forterra click here.

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