Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bricks and Mortar

Alan's Dad - taken sometime in the 1950s
Alan's Dad was a carpenter and brick layer. He has found memories of his Dad telling stories of his time working on big building sites in the East End of London. Alan got his appreciation of the complexities of brick laying helping his Dad build brick walls. We don't have a picture of his Dad with a trowel in hand - but we did find this pic ... framed by a wall in the Flemish Bond style. 

Why are we talking bricks???  

Well, when Science in a Van was in the UK recently we visited a neat place - the Avoncroft Museum. You might image a museum collecting bits of machinery or animal specimens ...  this museum collects ... BUILDINGS! It's a big place. In their collection they have a chain shop, windmill, prison block and they even house the National Telephone Kiosk Collection.

Alan loved the section which was all things brick. In England from the mid 19th century it wasn't just houses that were made out of bricks. Schools, government buildings, giant factories and even the tunnels for the London underground were brick built. 

Alan remembers that laying a brick flat, square and evenly spaced was important and at Avoncroft they showed a selection of patterns that could be achieved using standard size bricks.

In the top image the bricks are laid in a style called Flemish Bond. In the middle we have a example of Stretcher Bond then at the bottom is English Bond.

Which of these brick layouts is the strongest? Maybe you could take some lego and test it out?

Next time you are near a brick building ... maybe you could look a little closer? Remember each of those 215X102.5X65mm 2-3KG lumps of fired clay have been laid by the hand of a brick layer just like Alan's Dad.

Alan reckons he has married into the right family as Emily's Uncle is a bit of a brick too! Making tents, caravans and even a brick boat

We hope you've enjoyed this brick episode ... what next? 

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