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Brick-a-thon: Newham Heritage Month


Turn May Day into clay day and build new connections

Making bricks and building connections are the themes of a special community workshop and Brick-a-thon taking place on Saturday 1 May and presented by the University of East London and the V&A.

Newham residents and University staff and students are invited along to help make 500 bricks in an hour at a special site in the Royal Docks, drawing on Newham’s history when brickfields sprung up all over the borough to turn the clay into building materials using a special recipe.

The impressive architecture of the Abbey Mills Pumping Station and the Stratford East theatre are the most impressive buildings in the area constructed of Newham bricks made in this way.

Learn how to mix clay dug from the borough with some surprising local industrial waste materials to create a unique clay body for brickmaking. And as all the bricks made on the day will be used to build a new space for Newham communities for the future, the legacy of your hour’s labour could last for decades.

And while the bricks are being made, organisers want to hear about your experiences of living in Newham.

Questions like:

  • Can making a brick help us to talk about housing issues?
  • Can the history of the climate emergency be told through the brick?
  • If the brick walls in Newham could talk, what would they say?
  • The earth beneath your feet can be made into a new building: what do you think Newham needs?

Brickfield Newham is a community research project led by University of East London and Victoria & Albert Museum that questions clay and its importance to the urban landscape by connecting people literally to the earth beneath their feet.

The Brickfield Newham project forms part of Newham Heritage Month.

Covid security measures will be in place following the government's latest guidance and the workshop will take place outside. Anyone can get involved so let the organisers know if there are any adjustments you need to ensure you can join in.


The event takes place at 33 Factory Road, Royal Docks, E16 2HB, 1-3pm (nearest DLR: London City Airport or Pontoon Dock). To book a place or ask any questions, email Georgia at

Saturday, 1 May 2021