Clayton's brick-making machine, 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model of Henry Clayton's wire-cutting brick-making machine. Between 1801 and 1911, the population of Britain trebled to 45 million. In addition, 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.