Cheltenham Brickworks

This visit was a side-trip of the Mill Madness tour (to be posted latter). Participants (shown to the right) were neX, JuicyFriotKisses, and yours truly, CopySix.

Here's a short video starring the aforementioned explorers.

The Cheltenham Brickworks is just one of those obligatory locations where UrbEx folk must visit in order to boast a complete exploration portfolio. The site is fairly interesting but unless you are a local, one trip is considered sufficient.

The location is approximately a mile west from 'downtown' Cheltenham and is bounded by Mississauga Road directly adjacent to the east, the Bruce Trail on the south and the Brampton Brick quarry and yards to the north and west. The site is completely fenced but industrious youth have made this barrier somewhat porous.

Two of the three buildings were available for viewing thanks to the actions of vandals (not the Germanic tribe who harassed ancient Rome but the modern day ones who carry spray paint and recreational pharmaceuticals).

One of the three equally-sized buildings we first went into was stripped bare of any evidence of its former industrial activity with the exception of two fairly large wheels that I will guess were for screening the shale into a more suitable size/consistency for the bricks.

Shown here is my entry for the 'UrbEx Hunks' calender. My agent tells me I will probably get my pick of the month I want.

The second building we stepped into held no clue as to what manufacturing processes it once contained. Given the lack of natural light in the buildings, I was pleasantly surprised to have been able to get enough light through the doorway for this shorter exposure.

A recommendation for explorers who may visit in the future - plan your trip on a bright sunny day.

I normally do not take images of any graffiti and those who have explored with me know I hold a$$-clown tag-monkeys in slight regard. I do secretly enjoy a measure of entrainment from some either from a mis-spelling, intense vulgarism's or like this here - the complete oddness . . . "Japanese Octopus Sex" . . . wtf?

I love the look of aged rustalicious steel guiders and old-skool rivets. This particular beam in the second building floated my boat.
I was somewhat distressed to see that a large number of holes were drilled into this structural beam, most likely for equipment mounting, wiring or plumbing. I'm no engineer but I should think that if a support beam is starting to look like swiss-cheese, it would only hold as much weight as this dairy goodness.

Unseen below ground are a series of tunnels which housed ancillary equipment such as steam piping, conveyors and the like. In several locations, the tunnels have collapsed and the resultant hole enlarged through erosion over the seasons.

Another hop tip for explorers - watch where you walk at this location - both inside and outside the buildings.

A very brief history of the site

This board, facing the car park area for the Bruce trail gives an accurate sketch of the expanse of the brickworks in 1930. The depression at this time had very little effect on the production with only one kiln shutting down for a short period.

Cheltenham is located near the Town of Caledon in Peel County. A Charles Haines, from (you guessed it) Cheltenham, UK, first settled here in 1817 and within a few short years had a saw mill and a grist mill built to service a growing farming community.

In 1914, the Interprovincial Brick Company was attracted to the area due to ready rail transportation and raw materials – one mile west of the village lay a large deposit of red-coloured Medina / Queenston Shale. Workers were originally housed in tents on the site which were replaced latter with 13 housing structures with either 4 or 8 rooms each.

By 1922, the brickyard expanded and two 17 ton brick presses and seven kilns fed by steam-powered shovels excavating the shale. In this year, an average day witnessed 90,000 bricks in the process of drying, baking or cooling. Bricks were shipped to Toronto by road or loaded on the train for delivery to markets from Sault Ste. Marie to Halifax.

Labour-saving equipment, introduced in the mid-1940’s, reduced the workforce required at the brickworks. Production remained good up until Domtar purchased brickyard in 1958. Domtar promptly ceased operations, removed production equipment, tore down most of the buildings and eventually abandoned it. Brampton Brick purchased the brickworks in 1993 but only use the site for shale extraction.

A brief note about the nearby Cheltenham Badlands

This is the same shale goodness that went into the Cheltenham brickworks as loose material and came out as a brick.

The Cheltenham Badlands is the only badland topography I have visited in Ontario. It takes very little imagination to thinnk you might be in Alberta.

The Cheltenham Badlands probably started to form with the erosion of the soft Queenston shale as settlers cleared the land and latter grazed their cattle, removing the protective layer of vegetation. Although farming at the site ceased in the early 1930's, erosion still takes place naturally with precipitation and the increasing volumes of visitors to the site.

The site was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 2000 and is under the care of the Bruce Trail Association who just recently closed the section of trail on the site to help protect it from the damages caused by foot traffic.


jannx said...

C6 you are definitely having fun with that video stuff. However I suggest a tripod.. I'm getting motion sickness here!

Yours in photographic goodness.. Jannx

CopySix said...

I concur Jannx buddy.
For some unknown reason I simply forgot to use it - watching it after makes me wish I had used the tripod - or perhaps even a real video camera with awesome image stabilization.
One more video was shot (Barber Paper) for which I will apologize now . :-)

neX said...

ha! black really IS slimning! im going to wear black shirts more often now!

had a great time man! hope you did too! sad that i lost half my pics of barber mill, but whatever, it just gives me more incentive to make a return trip (probably in sept)!

more iced tea for everyone!

Air33 said...

Hey you saw the badlands on a sunny day when it usually packed with tourist folk. We went once during an ice pellet storm and it had 70 ppl there easy.
Looking forward to the barber mill!

CopySix said...

As neX has alluded, this UrbEx tour, although officially called the Mill Madness Run is known more commonly as the 'Ice Tea' Tour due the vast volumes of Ice Tea I consumed during the haul - (dang - it was hawt!!).
As for the the Cheltenham Badlands, there were some folks walking around . . . I just set up the tripod and looked angry until they left.
- This weekend - Harris Woolen Mill (Rockwood) and Hortop Mill (Everton).
- Next weekend - Barber Paper Mill (!)

masgblog said...

hey there copysix...thx for visiting re Stupid Drivers...I have since seen a few more. It oculd very well be the city people bringing their thirst for speed to little old Barrie...who knows.

You have an interesting blog. I'll probably be back.