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P00012 – Undercover storage at Port Haney Brick & Tile Co.
P00478 – A panoramic view of Port Haney Brick & Tile Co. The manager’s house is the building on the right hand side.
P00618 – An aerial view of Port Haney Brick & Tile Co, looking from the Fraser, north. The brick company is on the right, and the lumber company is on the left.
Port Haney Brick & Tile
The Haney Brick and Tile company formed in 1907 when Vancouver contracting firm Baynes & Horie purchased a small brickworks due to their need for construction brick. Harold Burnet managed the firm for them, and the present Maple Ridge Museum building was built for him, as the manager’s house. It was fairly common in those days for companies to provide housing for some of their staff on site to provide night time security. Sometimes the housing was in the form of bunkhouses for single men.
The company was located here due to the abundant clay resources on the property. Clay was mined from the hillside, then crushed and mixed with water to make a thick paste which was then put into molds and allowed to dry. The dried bricks were light grey in colour, and were arranged inside a beehive kiln and heated until they turned red. When they were overheated or over fired, they would turn into ‘clinkers’. An overheated kiln was usually a problem for the brickyard because it would slow down production for about a week. It took about 5 days to cool and then men would have to climb inside with a hammer and chisel, or even dynamite, to clear the mess so the kiln wouldn’t be lost. These melted looking bricks were used at the museum, and a few other houses in Haney, to build fireplaces.
The brick office building was erected in 1935. Clay agricultural tile became an important product, and the firm changed its name from Port Haney Brick Company to Haney Brick and Tile Company about 1947. James Hadgkiss took over as manager in 1948, moving his family into the brickyard house. He was succeeded by Allan Findlay in 1970.
By 1977, the brickyard was losing ground in competition with concrete, steel and plastic, so the company closed down, demolishing sheds and kilns, and selling the equipment. Both the house and office were moved back 60 feet to make the way for the Haney Bypass, and left standing with two acres of property.
The manager’s house currently houses the Maple Ridge Museum, and the company’s office is used for meetings, archival storage and an extra workspace.
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