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Discover H G Matthews, the traditional Brickmaking and Fireplace Specialists

Wood Kiln

7 Apr 2016

Join SCI’s London and Construction Materials Groups on a visit to H G Matthews, a traditional brickmakers and fireplace specialists, in Bellingdon, Chesham, on 12 May 2016.

Founded in 1923, H G Matthews is a family-run brickworks, producing traditional hand-made and machine-made bricks against the backdrop of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire. Buckinghamshire, with its distinctive geology, is famous for its bricks. All the clay that H G Matthews uses in making their bricks is still dug from original deposits around Bellingdon and from nearby Chalfont St Giles. It is this indigenous clay, the temperature of firing and the type of kiln used that is responsible for the subtle changes in the colours of their handmade bricks.

Rolling chalk hills, magnificent beech woods and charming brick and flint villages characterise the Chilterns, now designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and H G Matthews are proud to play their role in supporting the Chilterns and their heritage.

Like most industries, brickmaking has seen production concentrated in fewer and fewer, but much larger factories. Smaller brickworks have closed by the hundred since the Second World War. This has led to a sad decline in the local character and distinctiveness of buildings, with rustic bricks being replaced by those that are mass produced. H G Matthews has managed to thrive despite this trend as their consistent service and quality have meant that their bricks have always been in demand. Retaining their traditional skills and techniques has enabled their bricks to be used with confidence in high-end new builds and also in the conservation sector.

Famous buildings where H G Matthews have been used include Hampton Court (Chalfont Red facing bricks were used as rubbed quoins during the restoration of the main gate) and the Prime Minister’s country residence, Chequers.

We are pleased that Ed Hiam, Construction Materials Group committee member, will be giving an informal talk during the visit, immediately after the tour. For those interested, H G Matthews Fire Place showroom is adjacent to the brickworks and will be open until 5pm on the day of the visit.

Light refreshments will be available on arrival and departure. The London and Construction Materials Groups invite you to join them for a drink at the Full Moon Pub at Hawridge following the visit.

This event is free to attend but all attendees will be asked to donate £3 to the Ian Rennie Hospice. Donations will be collected on the day. To book for the event, please click on the link below. Please note: appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn during the visit (eg wellington boots or other working boots/shoes).

The London Group is also organising a visit to the Tate & Lyle Sugars refinery on the Thames on 20 April 2016. Please click on the link below for more information and to book.

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