Eccentric West Yorkshire pensioner who collects bricks says it's no duller than collecting Lego
An eccentric West Yorkshire pensioner who shows off his collection of bricks outside his house claims his hobby is no duller than collecting Lego.
Neil Brittlebank, 83, of East Ardsley proudly owns 350 bricks that he has either discovered himself or that others have donated - with total strangers even adding to his haul.
Impressively, he has his collection on constant display as he has built his unusual compilation into his drive and the entrance to his home - giving his house an individual style.
Neil said: “Since I started collecting I have received various bricks like the Queen Victoria Jubilee which dating back to 1867 made near Wolverhampton.
"It's just a simple brick with "Queen Victoria Jubilee" on it, it's nice and simple.
“I've was handed a brick dating back to 1740 by a friend of mine who found it in his cottage fireplace in Lancashire.
"He thought I would like it because it was old but when it arrived I found that it had a paw print embedded, the dog must have stuck the paw in as the brick was being made.
“I even got a brick from France with ‘Liberté, Egualité, Fraternité’, the French republic motto
"It was a gift from a family friend who had travelled through the country with it hidden in her bag because her friends thought it'd be funny.”
Neil became interested in the pastime in 1984 when pits were closing and he thought it would be a shame to let the bricks go to waste.
His collection started with a brick from Rothwell Colliery when he noticed the bricks had the name of the mines embedded on them.
The retired safety pit officer was featured in a book called the Dull Men of Britain - a book which praises men who celebrate the ordinary.
The pensioner, who has been married for 60 years, claims he is not dull, because embracing the ordinary does not make anyone boring, collecting bricks is like collecting coins or lego.
“Many people might think collecting bricks is dull but the industrial history is such a rich part of British history and is more important than it’s made out to be," he said.
“The bricks were made at their specific collieries rather than being bought and made elsewhere because it was cheaper to do that.
“When they started shutting them down, piles of bricks were going to go to waste so I decided to start collecting them and now it’s a hobby I’m well known for
"I'm very proud of what I do.”
Neil admitted he has never paid for the bricks but has often made trips up and down the country to find bricks with his supportive wife, Maureen.
Neil said: "We've never had to pay for any bricks other brick collects might but I’ve never had to.
"My wife and I used to just go on random trips to find bricks but age has started to affect us - we don't do that anymore
“People bring bricks to the house with a note explaining the story behind them and I think that's amazing."