John McCabe Newry historian from his Facebook Group Newry's Historic Facts Folktales & Photos looks back to the name origins of a Newry lane. 

Today a hill runs down off the Armagh Road Newry with it's Municipal Boundary stone marker opposite Vimy Terrace. Passing to your right as you descend you can view Mountain View Drive, College Gardens, Violet Hill Avenue and onwards by foot to Whitegates and the Meadow. 

Fleming's Brickworks Armagh Road, Newry opened in 1924 where Bricky Loanan gets it's name from.
Fleming's Brickworks Armagh Road, Newry opened in 1924 where Bricky Loanan gets it's name from.

This incline to the left once had a shop in the names of Davey's, McCoy's and Lundy's applying their trade with this hill becoming known to many as the Bricky Loanan with many school children from the other side of the Tracks negotiating their way down it and onward to St Patrick's Primary School. 

So what about the origins of the name the Bricky Loanan naturally it would seem straightforward enough a former old lane with it's surface consisting of bricks and boulders? 

However the lane's name has it's genesis in 1924 when further out and off the Armagh Road Hickey's lane receiving it's title three years earlier in 1921 though it may have taken a period of time for both these locations to have been adopted into the local narrative. 

Today the former Bricky Loanan off Newry's Armagh Road.
Today the former Bricky Loanan off Newry's Armagh Road.

The Bricky Loanan got it's name from Maryhill Brickworks once located to the left of the hill as you descend with the proprietor being James Fleming who in 1909 had a Ornamental and Plain Plastering business at 1 Sinclair Street, Newry and then a year later in August 1910 he moved his business to 30 Canal Street. 

Fleming had great business ambitions and we learn that on April 7th 1924 Newry Urban Council approved plans he had submitted for the erection of a new brickworks on lands situate on the Armagh Road, Newry. 

James looked around for the best brick making technology of the day and found it with Thomas C. Fawcett of Whitehouse Engineering Works, Hunslet, Leeds who had been in existence since 1886 with Fawcett venturing into making bricks and tiles in 1894. 

Thomas Fawcett in 1924 built and supplied the machinery for the Newry plant fitting it with a Fawcett semi-plastic brick making system which consisted of a 9 foot diameter grinding Mill, Duplex brick machine mixer, self-feeder, and screen.

Maryhill was very much hailed as a success story of it's era with it receiving an inspection in February 1926 by then N.I. Minister of Commerce J. Milne Barbour who's constituency was in South Antrim being in office from 1925-1941. 

The visit must have given James Fleming a boost of confidence when four months after the Minister's inspection the Fawcett's plant machinery was up for public auction at Maryhill being upgraded with new machinery. 

However Maryhill was to struggle as a consequences of the National Coal Strike of 1926 which was dependent upon coal to maintain brick production but by January of 1927 James Fleming had weathered the Industrial storm. 

He placed in the 'Belfast Telegraph' an advertisement declaring that after the strike Maryhill brickworks was now back in full swing. 

During these prosperous times former Councillor Jack Patterson recalled a few years ago in a local publication that the Newry Carters (a driver of a horse drawn vehicle) were kept busy at Maryhill. 

He revealed that his Grandfather was a carter conveying bricks from Fleming's which tended to be white in colour with many of then ending up behind plaster on the houses in High Street. 

Maryhill was to meet with a disaster on a Saturday evening in 1931 when a fire occurred 4 April around 7pm that destroyed the large kiln in which the bricks were 'baked.' 

The fire began when two electric wires fused with dense volumes of smoke and flame belching forth from the tower of the building and soon the whole place was ablaze. 

The firefighters were disadvantaged with the absence of water which had to be carried by buckets from an adjoining dam, before the arrival of the Urban Council Brigade. 

Fleming's in it's earlier days on the move from Sinclair Street to Canal Street, Newry
Fleming's in it's earlier days announcing its move from Sinclair Street to Canal Street, Newry

It was not possible to take the fire engine down the lane (Bricky Loanan) that lead to the brickworks and several lengths of hose were laid onto the water main on the Armagh Road. 

The pressure, however, was not strong enough, and a section of the town had to be cutt off to increase it. The fire, however, owing to the large quantity of wood in the building gained a firm grip and the efforts of the Brigade were directed to saving the engine-house and outer offices adjoining, in which they were successful. 

At the time of the reported fire it was revealed that James Fleming had his business working to full capacity to cope with the demand for bricks consequent on the increased activity brought about in the building line by the Housing Acts.

Maryhill was to survive this terrible set back but its short life of a dozen years of production was come to a close by Public Auction on February 13th 1936 inviting contractors, farmers, scrap dealers and others to attend. 

Fleming's local Industrial history came to a ignominious end serving to be part of a Council dump and it is hoped my research here may salvage some of its once albeit short proud trading past.

By John McCabe

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