Geology Site Account
Rayleigh Brick and Tile Works (Down Hall Brickworks) (site of), , Rochford District, TQ810918, Historical site only
Historical site only
During an Essex Field Club visit to Rayleigh in April 1925 members visited the sand pits on Hambro Hill and then proceeded to the pit then worked by the Rayleigh Brick and Tile Company south-east of the railway line (Thompson 1926). It was then reported that an extensive section through the sandy clay known as Claygate Beds was visible here with London Clay below but Bristow et al. (1980) has included the upper part of the London Clay here as part of the Claygate Beds. Bagshot Sand was also reported to be exposed in an upper pit at the top of the succession but it is not clear where this was; it may have been a reference to the nearby Hambro Hill sand pits.
The field trip report describes the party arriving at the pit to find one of the leaders of the field visit, the palaeontologist Arthur Wrigley, hard at work collecting fossils from the waste tips and from the working face. The fossils from the Claygate Beds are the remains of creatures that were living in the London Clay sea some 50 million years ago. The Claygate Beds occur above the London Clay and represent a period of geological time when the sea was becoming shallower and the clay becoming increasingly sandy as the shoreline came closer. Thanks largely to Wrigley’s work, the list of fossils recovered from this site is extensive, including corals, fish remains and at least 30 species of molluscs.
The site of the brickworks has now been developed and is now occupied by roads called Lower Lambricks and Upper Lambricks. Wrigley’s fossils from this locality are in the Natural History Museum, London and the Essex Field Club’s collection.
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Reference: Wooldridge and Berdinner 1925, Thompson 1926, Bristow et.al. 1980 (p. 274-275), Lake et.al. 1986 (p.20).
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