Photogroup June Meeting

The Group met at 10:15 a.m. on 17th June with the theme ‘Landscapes’ (originally Bleak Landscapes).

5 people attended as Anjie Sargeant was sunning herself in Lake Maggiore.

Overall best picture was John Hawke’s ‘Ghent Industrial Outskirts’ which featured scrap metal and coal heaps – very bleak!

Mike Liberson reported a problem with a malfunctioning SD Card and he had lost some of his best pictures. John Hawke stated that he had a program that recovered files from SD Cards/Hard Disk Drives and offered his services if Mike could supply the card.

John Hawke opened a Digital Camera (July 2024) magazine page that described the Exposure Triangle inter-relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO with great clarity. He also showed a short video of a 15th Century horse-driven automated laundry he recorded at the Netherlands Open-Air Museum (visited last April) – as an example of last month’s theme, ‘Technology’.

Unfortunately Rosemary Crumplin has not recovered from an, as yet, unknown illness and will be absent during the July and August meetings. Anjie Sargeant has volunteered to host in the interim. The Group is now reduced to four – we need new members!

Visit to Swanage : Monday 10 June 2024

Visit to Swanage : Monday 10 June 2024


We/I had certain misgivings about the date I’d chosen for our bucket and spade outing on Monday, 10th June with our annual visit to the seaside, this year to Swanage in Dorset.  The forecast was for storms, then rain but things improved when the weather people knew that Anton u3a were on their way down!  The sun shone at times.

Yes, it was quite cool and a bit cloudy but it brightened up later.  Four of our intrepid band decided that they wanted to either visit Corfe Castle or just to ride on the train back to Swanage so we dropped them off and continued our journey to the seaside.  I hasten to add that swimsuits and budgie smugglers were not in evidence!

Liz and I visited the 2 small museums and for such a small place, they had quite a lot of interesting things to report.  Did you know that there were 12 WW2 bombs dropped on the town?  I didn’t.  We also found a nice pub to have our obligatory fish and chips and a pint before making our way to an ice cream shop for the other staple whilst visiting such places!

All in all, Robert did a sterling job of getting his 13 passengers from A to B and return to A safely and timely.  For that we thank him.


The Brickworks Museum, Swanwick, 16th May 2024

The Brickworks Museum, Swanwick, 16th May 2024


The trip was a self-drive and 4 cars with 9 members arranged to meet up at the Brickworks Museum car park at 10:30 for an 11:00 start for the tour. On arrival we went to the onsite Café and had coffee and cakes while we also pre-ordered our lunches.

While we were in the canteen our guide Richard came and introduced himself to us and at 11:00 we started the tour. The Brickworks were founded in 1897 by the Ashby family who were successful builders merchants as part of the firm Hooper & Ashby. The Bursledon Brickworks Company (BBC) as it was known was situated on the site because there was an abundance of clay nearby and it had good rail and river transport links. The clay was originally dug by hand from pits that were 40ft deep close to the current building on the site. During the 1930’s mechanised digging was introduced as was an overhead cable system from the clay pits as they became further away from the brickworks. The brickworks expanded and by the 1935 was capable of producing 20 million brick per year. It carried on making bricks under various company names until 1974 when as part of the Redland Holdings company it was closed after the M27 split the site in two and the introduction of the Health and Safety of Work Act made the upgrading required to the works non-economic.

The site was left untouched and allowed to become overgrown it was only the after its discovery by a Hampshire County Council surveyor who got the site listed and after the National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant of £666,300 the Bursledon Brickworks Museum Trust was established and the site restored to partial use today.

There is a collection of buildings consisting of a room where the clay was sorted to remove stones etc. It was then put in the Bennett & Sayer Brick Making machine which is still in situ on the site. With the aid of an Archimedes Screw the clay was fed into the machine through a series of rollers and was “minced” before being finally made into a large oblong block of wet clay which was then cut into standard brick size by a machine similar to a cheese cutter with multiple wires. The bricks were then taken to drying rooms where they were stacked to about waist height to allow space around the brick while they dried out before being fired in the kiln. The kiln consisted of a large brick building with 12 chambers each capable of holding 26,000 bricks. The kiln would be constantly kept in use with bricks being heated to 1,000 centigrade and then reduced to 0 over a period of 12 days. The kiln was fed from above and it was fascinating to see the roof of the kilns with lots of little chimneys down which would be fed material to keep the chambers at the right temperature.

At its peak there were up to 300 people employed on the site from the ages of 7 – 70. Working conditions were hard and it was very physical labour especially for the men who had to load and retrieve the bricks from the kiln who would be expected to push barrows loaded with 50 bricks up to 15 miles a day in very hot conditions.  As a health and safety measure they were allowed to wear a wet knotted handkerchief on their head.

The brick making machines are all steam driven and have been restored and are run once a month onsite. After the tour we all returned to the café and had lovely light lunches. We were then left to tour the exhibition of types of bricks, chimneys, pantiles and finials on the upper floor along with a small collection of penny arcade machines as well as revisiting other parts of the site we had seen on the guided tour. It was fascinating to see the site and I can recommend it for a further visit on a day when the machines are up and running.

Kevin Barter