Geopark: The brickworks industry in Stenstrup

Take a walk in the past

Towards the end of the last ice age, the Weichselian, an area of 20-25 km2 around Stenstrup and Kirkeby was covered by a glacial lake. When the ice melted and the water later disappeared, the finest meltwater clay had been deposited at the bottom of the lake. This clay became the foundation for an extensive brickworks industry, which is clearly visible in the landscape in the form of water filled clay pits, railway tracks, ruins of brickworks, and the houses for the workers and manufacturers of the brickworks. The former Petersminde Teglværk (Petersminde Brickworks) is still in operation and is today owned by A/S Wienerberger.

Over time, there have been a total of 13 major brickworks located and several small local ‘farm-house brickworks’ in the area. Following the construction of the Odense–Svendborg railway in 1876, production was concentrated around Stenstrup because the railway and its sidings, loading tracks, and circulation tracks meant much better possibilities for the incoming transport of coal for the burning of and outgoing transport of finished drainpipes, roof tiles, and bricks. Around the year 1900, seven brickworks were in operation at the same time and their production was the highest in the kingdom.

You can still see traces of clay mining all over the landscape, such as from Assensvej and Rødmevej. In many places the farms and houses have been left on banks between fields that are 3, 4, or 5 metres lower because the layer of clay has been dug away and the topsoil has been put back. In other places, the digs have become lakes, which today are attracting abundant bird life. There are banks between old clay pits for road or rail transportation, and at one place a tunnel for tip wagon rails lead under Assensvej.

There are also plenty of traces in buildings. Right next to waystation Stenstrup Syd were two brickworks, where the loader and a chimney have been conserved at one of them, while the oven makes for a picturesque ruin at the other. A well preserved transformer tower was also built here originally because of the brickworks. Two distinguished director houses, both from 1900, are located at Assensvej and at Rødmevej. The more modest houses for the factory workers are located along Assensvej and in a cluster by Stenstrup Syd. The workers at the brickworks were seasonal workers, and many of them rented housing during the season. The long building called “Brødløs” (meaning poor; literally “breadless”) is an example of a building built as a tenement for the workers at the brickworks.

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  • Geopark: The brickworks industry in Stenstrup

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