Information on the Red Brick
The fired colour of clay bricks is influenced by the chemical and mineral content of the raw materials, the firing temperature and the atmosphere in the kiln. Pink coloured bricks tend to be the result of a high iron content, whereas white or yellow bricks are given a higher lime content. Most bricks burn to various red hues, thus producing the red brick. Should the temperature be increased the colour moves through dark red, purple and then to brown or grey at around 1,300 °C. Calcium silicate bricks have a wider range of shades and colours, depending on the colourants used. The names of bricks may reflect their origin and colour, such as London stock brick, Cambridgeshire White and the Welwyn Red Brick.
In the United Kingdom, the red brick has been used in for centuries. Until recently, the majority of houses were built from the red brick. Although many houses in the United Kingdom are now built using a mixture of concrete blocks and other materials, many are finished with a layer of bricks on the outside for an improved aesthetic appeal.
Why are bricks red?
Surely there are many different colours bricks could be made in, so why are the majority of bricks red?
It is often considered that red bricks became more popular back in the mid 18th century. During the Renaissance period, visible brick walls were considered untidy or unfinished, making them rather unpopular. At this time the brickwork was often covered with plaster.
The brick itself gained popularity when Flemish settlers brought bricks into the East Anglian region. Their use spread and by the late 18th century, yellow stocks bricks became quite common in London. Until 1800, most bricks were coloured red from the iron in the clay that was used in their production. Palladian ideals led to the development of white bricks, in which the varying amounts of lime added changed the brick to pale yellow, buff, or even brown. A whitish brick made from Gault clay was extensively used in the south east of England. Brown bricks were made and used in the Thames valley area. A silver grey brick was often manufactured and used for construction in the Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire counties, whereas in the York area, a rich dark brown brick was produced. As the standard red bricks were re-introduced around the mid 1800s, they were quite costly and so the more affordable houses still used only yellow bricks. The more expensive homes were once again built with red bricks as a means of decoration such as over windows. Eventually the cost of red bricks came down and the front elevation of many buildings were built entirely in red bricks.
We have vast stock of red bricks because they are by far the most sought after coloured brick within the building trade today. There is always a demand for other colours of bricks and we cater for those tastes too, but the red brick remains a perennial favourite with builders and homeowners alike.