Clements Hall
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Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

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Scoria bricks: do you have them in your neighbourhood?

20220930_101756In September Susan Major gave a talk for us about the double hexagon scoria bricks used in the back lanes of York, based on her researches into their intriguing origins and use, together with the some details she has discovered about their inventor, Joseph Woodward from Darlington. They were a recycling solution using blast furnace slag, see the blogpost she wrote last year for more details.

With colleagues she is now embarking upon mapping exactly where these scoria bricks are still in place in York. There are around five miles of this attractive brick in the back lanes in the city, and they are a significant feature of people's lives and our heritage, but they are sadly only known by the council as 'rosemary setts' or 'stable block paviours'.

We're mainly looking for the double hexagon design, but there are other types, such as blue/grey square and rectangular glazed bricks. Importantly though they appear in many other older parts of York, such as Acomb, Holgate, Haxby Road, Leeman Road, Burton Stone Lane, Fulford, Layerthorpe, Hull Road, Heworth etc.

We have now created a modern map showing what we've located to date, which includes photographs, see our test map here.

The following photos and maps show some of the South Bank examples.


blue tiles


South Bank alley


Gutters in Queen Victoria St

Rectangular bricks in Upper Price St

Blue bricks used at the end of Lorne St in South Bank

The following locations are based on the 1929 OS map of York, as these bricks appear in back alleys built in the late 19th century and early 20th century York. They also appear in street gutters too, and the mapping will eventually differentiate between the type of scoria brick and location.

These maps show the bricks located so far but there will be many more locations.

South Bank locations of scoria bricks

Bishophill locations of scoria bricks

Nunnery Lane area locations of scoria bricks

Clemthorpe locations of scoria bricks

Scarcroft Rd area locations of scoria bricks

It would be very helpful if other people with an interest in this subject might like to use the opportunity for a stroll around their neighbourhood to locate the other back lanes with scoria bricks, with photos where possible. It's a huge exercise for us so we need you to draw their locations on a map, possibly using Google Earth or Google Maps. There are of course other surfaces used, such as tarmac, concrete and stone, but we are only interested in scoria bricks - see photos. Please contact us on if you can help or need further information.