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October 29, 2016, 04:54 PM

Never mind the bollocks, here are the redundancy protest bricks

By Thornton Kay

The Bollocks brick [photo PBarker

 
 

West Midlands, UK - Last week's brick story roused Peter Barker of Antique Buildings in Surrey to kindly send a photo of a brick from his collection which is a piece of social history - a protest brick sending a message from workers to the management.

This buff or yellow wirecut three holer is believed to be one of a batch of 30,000 made by the last shift of brickmakers before compulsory redundancy in December 1999 at the Himley brickworks in Kingswinford near Stourbridge. The Socialist Worker newspaper gave the workers the Bolshy Workers of the Week Award.

SACKED STAFF at Ibstock Bricks have won Inside the System's Bolshy Workers of the Week award. The 17 staff, who were made redundant from the Kingswinford factory in the Midlands in December, took sweet revenge on their bosses. The workers' last act was to create a batch of 30,000 bricks with the word "bollocks" stamped on the side instead of the company's name. Factory bosses did not notice the word had been indented on the bricks until puzzled customers began to ring in. The consignment was worth 40,000. The bricks have now become prized items, reportedly changing hands for 5 each on the black market! [Socialist Worker 8 April 2000]

Mr Barker commented, 'Does this trump Durex? The marginally disgruntled workers subtly, and permanently, conveyed their feelings to the management by impressing the word in every one of the many thousands of bricks in the last batch they produced. They are now, allegedly, standing in secret testament facing inwards in a local school wall!'

Letters and words are not common on the face of bricks but there seem to be 19th century examples in Europe and USA. Protest messages are much rarer, but they do have a pedigree going back to the ancient walls of Babylon and Nineveh. Indeed the earliest historical evidence of writing is on these bricks and doubtless there some worker complaints, especially as the earliest recorded strike was in Egypt in 1155BC.

The Deconstructed House

Antique Buildings Ltd

Deconstructed House: Atlanta Brick & Tile Co stamped brick

Story Type:  Feature

ID: 97441

        
 
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