'Brick Maker', 1808.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Text on the history of the use of bricks in construction in Britain taken from 'The Costume of Great Britain', engraved and written by W H Pyne (1808). In the nineteenth century the population of Britain trebled to 45 million and the proportion of people living in towns increased from 20% to 80%. This rapid urbanisation made huge demands on the brick-making industry; by the middle of the 19th century, 500 million bricks were being produced every year in the London area alone. By 1900 virtually all bricks were machine-made. This book was written and illustrated in 1805 by William Pyne, the son of a weaver, who was commisioned by the publisher , William Miller. The book included 60 full-page paintings of scenes from everyday life and profesional and working-clas men and women at work.