Blue tinged Scoria blocks are still a fairly common sight in the gutters around Cleveland as they were manufactured from molten blast furnace slag, a waste product that was available in huge quantities in our area.
Joseph Woodward first took out a patent in the mid 1870s for a machine for making blocks from molten blast furnace slag.
The Wharton Arms was built in 1878 so the bricks in the yard behind could be original examples from this early phase. Nearly all the blocks carry the name “Tees Scoria Company – Patent” where most examples in Cleveland are just plain.
In 1893 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited the Tees Scoria Brick Co. at Cargo Fleet Iron Works and described a more advanced process :
The manufacture carried on at these works is that of slag blocks for paving. The plant comprises one rotating wheel, fitted with 140 moulds; and also eighteen kilns, each capable of holding 1,000 blocks. From twenty to thirty different sizes of blocks are made. By arrangement with the Cargo Fleet Iron Co. these works are carried on at U, Plate 55, within the boundary of the Cargo Fleet Iron Works.
The blocks were also manufactured at Skinningrove up until the 1950s.