Brick, Norton; Norton's Brick and Tile Company; 1934; HP.P05P144


Brick, Norton

About this object

This Norton's brick was salvaged from St Mary's School after a fire destroyed seven classrooms, the library and assembly hall in 1974. The fire began some time in the early hours of Wednesday February 27 and with two fire trucks battling the blaze, it was still smoldering at 7.30 am. Investigators failed to establish a known cause. The 280 pupils were rehoused to the James Cumming Wing of the Gore District Council while the school was rebuilt.

Norton's Brick and Tile Company:

Englishmen, John Norton founded Norton's Brick and Tile Company at Pukerau in 1880. John selected the location of the company quarry both for its clay and its coal deposits which were used to operate the kiln.

Norton's stopped manufacturing brick in the 1990s following a fire which destroyed their brick making technology. They continued to manufacture field tiles, however, they could not compete with offshore companies and closed early in 2018. Prior to the company closure, Norton's carried New Zealand's oldest quarry licence for a company still being owned and operated by the same family.

Apart from a shift in 1915, the company had virtually remained at the same site since the 1880s. In 1915, they shifted to be closer to the main railway trunk line for ease of distribution. The company had their own siding which went underneath State Highway One to their quarry. As demand decreased, customers picked their tiles up directly from the company.

A combination of the cost of the local brick and the destruction of old buildings in the district mean that Norton bricks are quite rare.


Norton's Brick and Tile Company

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, Southland, Pukerau

Medium and Materials

inorganic, mineral, clay

Inscription and Marks

Number on front/back in black marker above the 'Norton': '854'.
Collection number is on the opposite side in black marker: 'HPP05P144'.


h 220 mm x w 110 mm x d 70 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Buildings and Structures

Subject and Association Keywords

Industry and Manufacturing

Object Type

architectural elements

Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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