Exercise 3.5: Local History

This exercise asks for a short investigation into a historical aspect of the area in which I live. For this task I chose to look into the history of brush making in Wymondham where I live. In particular I wanted to look at the history of the Briton Brush Factory, which was demolished some years ago and a housing estate built on the site.

I discovered a receipt which was for sale on Ebay from the Briton Brush Company, Wymondham, dated 1931, which shows that the company was originally established as S.D. Page and Sons in 1750, (the receipt shows the company’s telephone number as Wymondham 12 !).

Martins and Williamson (2008) describe the formation of a large factory for S.D. Page and Son in 1880 and how soon after that it moved to Wymondham. Grace’s Guide (2017) describe how in “1920 D. Matthew and Son amalgamated with S. D. Page and Sons, to form the Briton Brush Co, at Page’s factory in Lady’s Lane, Wymondham”. It also has some adverts for the various brushes produced at the factory.

Wymondham Town Archive (Fowle and Garner 2011) have a number of photos of brush factory workers.

Grace’s Guide (2017) records that in “1985 The company closed. After closing the factory was pulled down to make way for housing and the estate on the former brush works site has such road names as Briton Way and Page’s Way”.

In the previous part of this course I had looked at how artists had used Google Street View to produce images and I thought that I would like to try this. So I used it to find the ‘Briton Estate’ in Wymondham. It is not a particularly large area with just a few roads. There were a few instances where people were walking down the road and this gave me the idea to make an image from Street View where I replaced the figures with those of brush factory workers taken from the town archive photos.

I converted the final image to black and white (it looked very strange with the monochrome figures of factory workers on a coloured background. I deliberately left the Google street names and text on the image to maintain the link between the workers and the site of the factory.





Fowle, R. and Garner, M. (2011) Wymondham Town Archive Photo Album. At: http://wymondham-archive.norfolkparishes.gov.uk/category/photos/ (Accessed on 16 March 2018)

Grace’s Guide (2017). At: https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Briton_Brush_Co (Accessed on 16 March 2018)

Martins, S.W. and Williamson, T. (2008) The countryside of East Anglia: changing landscapes, 1870-1950. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.