The Brick and Tile Works - Maidenhead Commons

The site of the old brick and tile works at Maidenhead Common lies on a bed of Reading Clay which has been extracted by local people to make building materials and pottery for hundreds of years.

History

Coopers Brick & Tile Works was established by John Cooper in the early 1800s at a time when there was an ever increasing demand for building materials due to the expansion of residential Maidenhead.

The works produced clay bricks and tiles, as well as more ornate terracotta wall tiles, gargoyles and pinnacles. Many of the hand sculpted pinnacles can still be seen on old houses in Maidenhead and the surrounding areas today.

A brick from Coopers Brick & Tile Works
A brick from Coopers Brick & Tile Works
A brick from Coopers Brick & Tile Works

In its heyday over a hundred people worked at the brick and tile works, with many of the skilled craftsmen and their families living in specially built cottages on nearby Golden Ball lane. With business thriving, a tramway was built in 1899 to carry clay from the new clay pits at the southern end of the site to the main works.  Remnants of this tramway can be seen on the island in the big pond to this day.

Woodland wildlife

After closure of the pits in 1968 the site has been colonised by birch woodland with frequent oak, ash and grey willow. Ground flora is very variable throughout the site with many of the open areas of concrete rubble and brick piles being especially rich in floral diversity.

The most notable plants to be found are silverweed, marsh thistle and perforate St.John’s-wort. Common spotted orchid is also locally frequent. Many common hoverflies can also be seen, as well as the Amber-listed green woodpecker and Red-listed marsh tit.

Dog Rose, Brick & Tile Works
Dog Rose at Maidenhead Brick and Tile Works, Berkshire
Dog Rose, Brick & Tile Works


Pond life

The series of ponds which occupy the old clay pits are frequented by both great crested and smooth newts, and are heavily vegetated in places. Aquatic vegetation associated with the more open areas includes locally abundant frogbit, with occasional common water-plantain, white water-lily and broadleaved pondweed.

The colony of frogbit is particularly notable as it has suffered a severe decline in Britain and appears on the current Red List in the vulnerable category. Other aquatic plants present include common water-starwort, ivy-leaved duckweed, and a small amount of water-violet which is a declining local speciality of ditches and ponds close to the Thames.

Water Lily, Brick & Tile Works
Water Lily at Maidenhead Brick and Tile Works, Berkshire
Water Lily, Brick & Tile Works


The ponds are fringed by a belt of marginal vegetation including locally abundant lesser spearwort, floating sweet-grass, and the sharp-flowered and soft rush species.

Invertebrate pond life found within the site include the saucer bug, water measurer, common wetland hoverfly, and greater and lesser water boatman, as well as the common darter and common hawker dragonfly species.

Large Red damselfly, Brick & Tile Works
  Large Red Damselfly at Maidenhead Brick and Tile Works, Berkshire
Large Red damselfly, Brick & Tile Works

Planning your visit

  • Limited free parking is available along Malders Lane on road verge before the entrance to the site.
  • OS Map grid reference for Malders Lane: SU863831.
  • The Brick & Tile Works is a quarter of a mile south of Winter Hill Road Woods (SU863834) and three quarters of a mile north of Pinkney’s Green (SU859825).
  • The nearest railway station is Furze Platt (SU882823), which is 2 miles east of the Brick & Tile Works.