Simon Swann Associates

Historic Brickwork in East Anglia, recording and conserving
historic pointing finishes: a survey by Simon Swann Associates Ltd. with funding from Historic England


Pointing and jointing (and associated surface finishes) to brickwork form an important aspect of the historic brick facades that characterise the architectural landscape of many market towns in East Anglia. The surviving pointing and jointing finishes, mainly dating from the C18th and C19th are subject to attrition by processes such as weathering, alterations and repairs.  Some aspects of these finishes such as colour washes, joint highlighting and “pencilling” may be eroded more rapidly, only traces may now remain externally.


Regional methods and styles in the finishing of brick joints (and re-pointing) do not appear to have been surveyed and recorded previously. Similarly no apparent record has been made of the application of various types and arrangement of jointing, pointing and associated surface finishes on brick building elevations where multiple techniques may be employed as part of the original design.


The project will help to increase awareness and understanding of the use and evolution of traditional brick joint finishes and it is seen as an extension to the work carried out for the Historic England publication Practical Building Conservation; Earth Brick and Terracotta.


The project will include an initial literature search and archive search, development of an illustrated glossary of pointing and jointing types and terms, the development of survey and recording protocols for joint finishes, surveys of four Market Towns across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, comparative assessments of different mortar materials analysis techniques (characterisation) and a final report.


The work is due for completion in end of March 2018.

Tuck Pointing on the C18th Town Hall, Beccles; clear evidence that the brick bond has been “improved” through the pointing. The vertical joints are typically more thin than the bed “tuck” point.

A very neatly executed C18th  “Flush joint, jointed” in Bury St. Edmunds on Suffolk whites now much darkened by pollution. Cleaning such walls tends to lead to loss of such fine detail.

Typical C16th double struck jointing, with thin render details to widows in imitation of atone, and traces of red ruddle.

“Bastard tuck pointing” in white, providing a raised and projecting joint, neatly trimmed, characterised by shrinkage due to high lime content.

C19th Polychrome brickwork ( reds and whites), on the same building facade, exhibiting different joint mortar colours.

Simon Swann Associates Ltd, 5 West End Corner, Wrentham, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 7NF

Telephone: 01502 676044    Mobile: 07941827310