Thursday 17 November 2011


There are pockets of clay all over the Touraine and Berry and in the old days (i.e. the 19th century) there were tile and brick factories associated with almost every town and village. They are virtually all gone now, with a rare survival being the tile factory near le Blanc where we got our carreaux de terres cuites for the kitchen and entry hall.

These old bricks are in good condition,
with their stamps sharp and legible...
We have a few old examples, with original terracotta tiles in situ on the pantry floor, and the odd brick randomly placed in the shoddily built extension to the back of the house. The bricks are all stamped with the names of their manufacturers and the town they were made in. We have bricks from Preuilly and nearby Chambon, a village little more than a hamlet.

...The workmanship displayed on the building they form
is not much better than at our house though.
We happened to duck down a path in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher one day recently and discovered a particularly impressive array of local bricks. Old bricks and tiles like these, with their distinctive stamps, are a very accessible reminder of local history, and have become minor collectors items. I've seen roof tiles for sale at brocantes, with those bearing the name of the town the brocante is in displayed most prominently. I seriously considered buying one at Preuilly's brocante, as a nostalgic souvenir of past times.


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