Bath Brick, Scourer; J H Brough & Co; 1910-1920; WY.1982.22


Bath Brick, Scourer

About this object

This interesting item, known as a Bath brick, was a predecessor of the scouring pad used for cleaning and polishing.

In the 1820s it was discovered that using silt from a particular river bank at Bridgewater, Somerset, England, bricks could be made which would produce a gritty substance suitable for scouring metal. Square pens were constructed on the river bank to trap the silt, and after two or three months, this would be collected and shaped into bricks for kiln-firing. They were given the name of Bath bricks since the colour after firing closely resembled that of Bath stone.

The brick, similar in size to an ordinary house brick , could be used in a number of ways. A mild abrasive powder could be scraped from the brick and used as a scouring powder on floors and other surfaces. Powder could also be moistened with water for use on a cloth for polishing or as a kind of sand paper. Items such as knives might be polished directly on a wetted brick.

At its peak, 24,000,000 bricks per year were being produced by ten different Bridgwater companies, especially during World War I when they were part of the soldier’s standard kit issue.


J H Brough & Co

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Europe, United Kingdom, England, Somerset, Bridgewater

Medium and Materials

organic, processed material, stone, clay

Inscription and Marks

Stamped on brick: ' BRIDGWATER BATH BRICK'


h 40 mm x w 150 mm x d 75 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Domestic Life (household chattels, food and drink)

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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