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Men of kiln and kin
Croydon resident DM Furze remembers the close sense of family between fellow kiln workers and the owner at the former Handley's Brickworks.
The Guradian (dated February 22) states that the chairman of Woodside Brickworks was Jack Milster. It was in fact, Jack Milstead who was also a well known JP.
My father-in-law worked there from the age of 15 until his death at the age of 52. He was responsible for making sure that all the kilns were kept in coke and coal.
His name was Fred Milmer. He said that rats who lived in the area knew when they started and finished work. I can remember sitting in the tractor one day at the edge of the pit with his engine off and true to his word when the hooter went at 5:30pm out came all the rats. I had never seen anything like it.
Fred lived in Meadvale Road 50 yards from the brickworks. It used to make me laugh to see him drive to work a little Austin A40.
When he died the whole of the brickworks shut down and lined Meadvale Road as we passed them with their caps in their hands and dusty faces. It showed what a close-knit family they all were.
Yes I miss the old brickworks but perhaps the best of all was old man Handley who never let anybody go without a crust in those hard days.