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Mar 19, 2020

Through spoken word and folk music we celebrate the rich heritage and social history of the English counties. This is one of an occasional series called The Ballad of Bedfordshire. We'll look at the county's history, its industries, and its people, be they ordinary, famous or infamous.

From the early 20th Century Brickmaking was a major industry in Bedfordshire. This was due to the accessibility of the Oxford Clay in Marston Vale south west of Bedford. Formed in 1900 the London Brick Company became the leading manufacturer. By the early 1970s LBC had absorbed all their competitors and were the main producers of English made bricks. There were a number of factories in Marston Vale, at its peak the Stewartby site was actually the biggest brick factory in the world employing 2000 people producing 500 million bricks a year.

David Szymanski is a man steeped in the history of the brick industry. He grew up in Stewartby, had university sponsorship from the London Brick Company during his engineering degree and rose to senior management positions within the company.

Songs are performed by 3 Bedfordshire folk groups Life & Times, Jack in a Barrel and Marisa,Jack&Davy. All songs were written by Graeme Meek apart from one written by his musical partner Barry Goodman.

Songs in order of performance:
1. Jack in a Barrel - Brickmaking
2. Life & Times - Bedfordshire Brickmakers
3. Jack in a Barrel - The Last Hoffmans
4. Marisa,Jack&Davy - The Pits That Scar the Land
5. Life & Times - Little Italy (Barry Goodman)
6. Life & Times - Marston Vale
All composed by Graeme Meek unless stated.