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Blending the latest technology with over 200 years tradition of clay craft

timeline1805 The year of the Battle of Trafalgar and a Brick and Tile Works is established on present site in Pensnett. 
timeline1902 R.S Davenhill a mining engineer joins Messrs Hinton and Perry to design and establish an entirely new modern plant.
timeline1912 The company’s first brochure was produced offering a wide range of clay products including South Staffordshire Blue Bricks under the brand of Dreadnought Roofing Tiles.
timeline1914-18 Progress halted by the Great War.  This is the memorial at Gornal near to the Works.  5 employees were killed,  9 wounded and  5 POW
timeline1919 R.E Davenhill(Peter) returns from war service and with Edgar Perry starts to reestablish the business which grows continuously until 1939.
timeline1930 The Ketley Quarry and surrounding land purchased to ensure future marl supply. 
timelineWorking horses played a key role up until the mid 1930’s for the transport of clay from the quarry and of product to the canals.  This is Harry Bradley with the “alf legged un” outside the Works’ stables.
timeline1939-45 Production virtually halted by WW2.
1964 Ketley Brick, a local Staffs Blue and Red Brick Works is purchased by Hinton Perry and Davenhill and its production is moved to the Dreadnought works. 
timeline1967 A major fire and another in 1971 necessitates a rapid reconstruction of the plant and buildings.
timelineLate 1960’s and early 1970’s New state of the art brick dryers were installed.  Bricks were dried in packs on stillages with hot air from gas burners and a heat recovery system.
timelineNew natural gas fired shuttle kilns constructed at the same time. The entire works now used gas for both drying and firing completing the transition from coal. 
timelineHand cut specials in production.  The hairstyle clearly dates this photo to the 70’s.
timeline1998 investment in wet clay preparation and high speed rolls to improve consistency. This was the beginning of a new phase of an extensive investment program across the business to increase energy and production efficiency. 
timeline2005 Investment in new fully automated brick line which allowed Ketley to add Class A perforated bricks to their product range.
timelineThis new robotic setting increased production quality and efficiency, whilst maintaining Ketley’s unique flexibility and enabling an expansion of the range of products and specials.
timeline2008 commissioning complete of new brick dryers with a kiln heat recovery system to significantly improve energy efficiency.
timeline2013 New Robotic production line for bricks slips and quarry tiles is installed to further broaden the product range.
timeline2014 Ketley’s new rectangular quarry tiles are laid at London’s Barbican
timeline2018 Ketley Quarry is sold and Hollybank Quarry in Cannock is purchased to secure ongoing supplies of etruria marl clay

A gallery of images from Dreadnought Works

Take a look at how we do things today and see some of the people who make it all happen...

Click a thumbnail to open the gallery