Brick Pile

‘Brick Pile’ or ‘Brick Stack’ was a name used by soldiers for the area next to the southern Spoil Bank mound. Later in the war, a light railway terminus here was named ‘Brick Pile Sidings’. For years I did not pay this much attention until I saw the reason for this in the photograph of Lock 7 below. The bricks are probably left over from the construction of the canal, or a pyramid to the memory of a forgotten Belgian Pharaoh.

The brick pile is in background on the right, with Spoil Bank being the mound above the heads of the soldiers. The sand bag wall behind the soldiers is a canal crossing for a light railway.

Front line of September 1918 showing the former Brick Pile Sidings and ammunition dump crater.

Brick Pile, 1915

As can be seen above, the brick pile was once immense like a medieval castle, surely blocking out the summer evening sun from Vaartstraat 13. Why it is there, so precisely stacked, so high and at quite a distance from where it might be used – if it is left from the canal construction – is a mystery. As is the reason Spoilbank shows up white in this photo.

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