Posts Tagged ‘tile’

The Tile Hunter

December 3, 2013

I have commented before on this blog that I like the simple things made from baked clay – like bricks and tiles. But one item I have I think rather beggared the belief of my wife.

We were in France on a brief holiday. I ought to explain here that my wife is actually pretty good at French. She’ll say she isn’t, but she actually did languages at uni – including French so she isn’t bad.

Mine, on the other hand is not good. Back when I was a teenager there were very few universities that would take you on any course without a modern foreign language ‘O’ level. I struggled. I guess the nerd brain likes things to be logical. Languages have some rules, but words lack logic. This probably applies to English more than French and of course, I learned English with no problems. But French was a nightmare for me. I took O level and failed badly. I took it again and failed narrowly. But by the time I had a girlfriend (now wife) who was good at it and she gave me lessons and confidence and I managed a pass. But it gives you the idea that really I was not good at coping with French. And with a competent wife, I tended not to even try to use it – unless I went off alone.

So one evening I went out for a solo walk around the village we were staying in and I returned to our bed and breakfast base with a tile.

I had engaged a man, out in his garden, in conversation and had blagged a tile off him. This man was a huge bloke and he was, whilst not chatting with me, wielding a hefty axe. He was quite scary looking really. But I was determined to try a bit of French – and one of the words I knew was the word for ‘tile’ and so I commented on the heap of them he had in his garden. And soon I was on my way with a tile tucked under my arm.

It has been an ornament at home ever since, so here it is.


This might have been deemed a decorated pan tile in England, but of course it is French. It was made by ‘Legros et Fils.


They come from Dieppe and this is their number 2 tuile.


I can’t find much about Legros, but this name appears on web site – an alphabetical list of the famous people of Dieppe. I have machine translated it from the French.

Legros (Etienne-Isidore) Born in Rouen on 3 Jan 1811 and died at Dieppe on 10 Oct 1889. Founder Dieppe an important ceramics factory. In 1870 rendered immense services to the city. Dieppe Mayor from 1871 to 1879 President of the Tribunal of Commerce, Member of the Chamber of Commerce, Knight of the Legion of Honor.

Of course Dieppe was a far-away place, across the ocean when I was a child and we watched the ferries to-ing and fro-ing from Newhaven. And my tile, given by the garden axeman, came from there.


Some Archaeology in Chapeltown Woods

June 15, 2013

Chapeltown is near Sheffield and is in an area with an enormously rich industrial past. The woods, these days, provide a lovely area for leisure – walking or bike riding and enjoying the plant and animal life. But in the past they have been much dug and altered by man’s search for minerals and his need to transport them. These words provide endless fun for a happy nerd.

Let’s start with this.


Well this is a real ‘what is it?’ item. There could be a bit of a give-away in the shape of two letters.


BR surely stands for British Railways so this is a railway relic. There’s a hollow metal pole firmly fixed in the ground (broken off at a low level) and some kind of lever mechanism. Was this a signal pole?


Nearby there was a low level backing board of some kind.

Any ideas as to just what this is would be appreciated.

After that it was bricks and coping tiles that took our eye.


These coping tiles are upside down and have quite classy dovetails to fasten them together.


That’s a little bit of gentle cleaning going on to make the writing clearer.


Clearly we have a cover for a cable way here.


A Hoyland Brick Company brick. If you want to see many, many different South Yorkshire bricks you can try this album on Flickr. We were about 2 miles from Hoyland so this was a local brick.


We found more cable coping tiles.

We also found a piece of brick which we called a ‘Hoyland diagonal’.


Do you know what? Niece, wife and I thoroughly enjoyed being brick archaeologists. It really was a laugh a minute for us. I can’t wait to go and explore some more.

But there were also bigger bits of archaeology. This is clearly a large coping stone for something.


There’s a part of a bridge (which appeared to have Wharncliffe Silkstone bricks).


This must be time to stop – with a reminder that the woods are lovely. All these pictures were taken on 27th May 2013

Tile Cutting

April 30, 2013

I do not endorse products. Actually, I quite dislike adverts and, in particular, what gets called advertorial matter. You know – those articles which look like genuine content but turn out to be exhorting you to buy items you never knew you needed. So I shall mention no product names, even though I am going to say that one particular purchased item proved to be a total god-send.

A while ago we bought some tiles. My wife is pretty good at tiling and we never imagined any particular difficulty. But we encountered one. All went well enough until we needed to cut the first tile to fit round an electricity socket. Out came the little hand tile saw. Yes, it cut it, but oh so slowly. Something over an hour later an inch had been cut. Next, the cut at right angles had to be done – and that was two inches long. The time taken was absurd and absolutely soul destroying.

As a trial, we cut an old tile we had spare from a previous job. It was no problem. Our new tiles caused the difficulty.

We needed something a bit beefier.

A local DIY shop offered diamond tipped edge cutters for hire at £35 per day. Then we found one we could buy for £45. The trouble was that the nearest store with the device as that price was just over 20 miles away.

We decided to make a morning of it. We went via a country route and enjoyed the scenery and purchased our own cutter.

On our return, we deviated to a garden centre. We wanted a new plum tree and were able to purchase a golden plum – a bit like a greengage.

And then it was home to assemble the tile cutter and try it out.

Wow! It works.


And here it is. Yes, it sprays its cooling water about but it does, so far, a lovely job.

Whether we’ll ever need it again, I don’t know but a stalled job has become possible again.

And how’s that for a good right angle cut?