Victorian Building Blocks

One summer, my brother-in-law Peter pointed out a little paw print imbedded on the surface of a brick of the back wall of our house. This led to the discovery of numerous “imperfections” in the bricks and the realization that no two bricks on our house were the same. The bricks of the Dusty Victorian look very weathered with their uneven colouring, pockmarks, scratches, waves and ripples, but what is most interesting are the prints left by the workers and animals of the time.

In the nineteenth century brick making was an occupation at the absolute bottom of the ladder, associated with the most degrading poverty. The work was low skilled and seasonal. I think the bricks on our house is a testimonial of that hardship.

Look closely.

Raccoon or cat prints.

Testing with his finger to see if the clay was ready.

Grabbing the brick, thinking it was firm enough to handle. Four finger tips, from the index to the pinky. The thumb print is probably on the inside of the wall.

Don't know what these numbers mean. They are quite high up on the wall.

These angled prints were numerous all over. I think they are prints of other bricks from stacking.

I'm not sure what that print is, but if I let my imagination run free, I would say that this brick was made in autumn and a leaf fell on wet clay. The worker grabbed the stem, leaving behind
his clumsy prints.

This is a relatively recent print of the boy who lived here before us. Love it.

More on Victorian brick making can be found at this site.