This page lists a few of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received from visitors. If you have a question you would like to ask or a suggestion for an item to include in this FAQ, please use the Contact form to send it in.
What is brick spotting all about?
Most but not all bricks have a distinct mark or stamp on them known as a brickmark which usually denotes the name of the manufacturer or a brick in a product range by a manufacturer. Brick spotting is the pastime of searching for bricks showing these brickmarks and recording them, though some dedicated enthusiasts actually collect the bricks themselves. Most brickmarks today are from the past and the majority of the brickworks that produced them no longer exist.
I’ve heard that brick spotting or collecting can be addictive!
Yes, like any pastime where collecting something is involved, brick spotting can be a all-absorbing hobby. With brick spotting, there are many thousands of brickmarks out there – over 500 here in Scotland alone, perhaps double that number – and you never know where they are, when you will find them and what you will find. There are common brickmarks, rare brickmarks and brickmarks that few people will have seen in the past 100 years or more. Yes, brick spotting can be addictive.
Where can I go to spot bricks?
You can spot bricks with brickmarks just about anywhere there are bricks, although some locations are better than others. Good locations are at the coast where rubble has been used to help prevent coastal erosion, old landfill sites and abandoned or demolished industrial sites such as old brick works, factories, paper mills, etc. But bricks are everywhere and its worth keeping your eyes open no matter where you are, even walking along the street.
What tool and equipment do I need?
You don’t actually need any tools or equipment to start brick spotting, although there are a few small and inexpensive items that make the task that much easier. A brick-hook is useful for turning bricks over to reveal the brick mark, a small hammer is useful for cleaning off old mortar, a small nail brush is good for cleaning them and a pair of work gloves is useful for handling them.
Can I collect the bricks I find?
Personally, I prefer just to photograph them and create a virtual collection. Yes, you could collect the bricks themselves but bricks are heavy to carry and you need somewhere to store them. It’s worth noting that you could collect 100’s of bricks and a virtual brick weighs nothing. The bricks you find also belong to someone and taking them may have cause some issues depending where you are taking them from..
What is the purpose of this website?
The purpose of this website is to share the joys and excitement that can be had from brick spotting, to try and show others what its all about and to encourage them to start brick spotting themselves. This website is also here as a resource on brick marks, particularly relating to Scottish brickworks.
Can I use the images posted here?
Yes, you can use the images on this website but please request permission first and let me know what you want to use them for. Permission will normally be granted for non-commercial use but a small fee may be charged for commercial use.
Can I share links with your website?
Yes, please do drop me an email or get on touch via the Contact form if you wish to trade links. I would generally only be interested in trading links with websites relating to bricks, brickworks, brickmarks, brick spotting or brick collecting or sites associated with bricks or have some contents relating to bricks.
Can you help identify a brickmark?
If you have a brickmark that you are having trouble identifying I would be happy to provide any information I can though please do bare in mind that published resources relating to the subject are few and far between and my main interest is for Scottish brickmarks. I have very little information on bricks from other countries.
Why are you concentrating on Scottish bricks?
Living near Edinburgh in the south of Scotland, the surrounding regions have a rich history of brick-making and it is recorded that around 250 or so brickworks, potteries also producing bricks, and brick and tile works, once existed in Scotland alone, though sadly, most have vanished along with the collieries that were often associated with them. There are, of course, many brickmarks produced in England and Wales, as well as many other countries of the world but I really wanted to draw some boundaries on what is actually a huge subject matter. I do record any brickmarks I find from outwith Scotland.
How do I find out more about brick spotting?
Additional sources of information on brick spotting are few and far between. There are a few web sites about brick collecting and there is a close relationship between the two topics. Other than this website I’ve not encountered anything online about actual brick spotting. However, this is one amazing site entirely dedicated to Scottish bricks and brickworks, Scottish Brick History and there is no better to visit.
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