In Bleak House, Charles Dickens paints a vivid picture of the 19th century brickfields as places of grinding poverty. Yet it was here, amid the mud and squalor, that the building blocks of Victorian England were made. Rapidly expanding towns and cities demanded millions of bricks every year and West London, with abundant seams of Brick Earth, became a centre for the brickmaking industry. Brickfields were established across Hillingdon, Hounslow and Ealing and brickmaking quickly replaced agriculture as the mainstay of the local economy.
At a community consultation meeting for our new development at Prologis Park West London, we discovered that our new Hillingdon site is regenerating one of these brickfields. Located next to the Grand Union Canal, bricks made here would have been transported by barge to Paddington for use in buildings such as the Royal Albert Hall.