The Early Years
Brickmaking in this area was started by B.J.Harfield Forder from Buriton in Hampshire. He first started in Westoning, close by the Midland Railway which he needed to transport his bricks As this operation was successful Forder decided to expand into the Oxford clay belt. By 1897 he had opened new brickworks at Elstow and Wootton Pillinge.

Fletton brickmaking in the Peterborough area was quite well advanced by this time and Forder looked to this area when he needed partners to expand his business. All 3 of his sites were highly mechanised and he required more capitol. Arthur and George Keeble joined Forder accompanied by Halley Stewart, then prospective Liberal candidate for Parliament. Stewart had capitol to invest as he had recently sold his family's business in Kent

The Keeble brothers did not want to remain in the brickmaking business, only wanting short-term investments and soon sold their small brickworks to Halley Stewart to become part of the Forders' works.

In 1900 Forders became a limited company and Halley became the chairman. Other members of his family joined and continued building up the company. By 1910 Forders was producing 48 milion bricks a year.

After the World War I the various brickmakers within the Oxford clay belt has become 4 main groups, losing many of the smaller brick companies along the way. These groups were Forders, the London Brick Company, the Itter companies and the United and Northan Brick companies. Gradually over the years the companies joined together to try to stabilise the costs and pricing within the industry. By 1923 all of the companies except Itter's joined together,. They became the London Brick Company and Forders Ltd with Percy Malcom Stewart (Halley's son) as Chairman. In 1927 the new company purchased a controlling interest in Itter's company and it became part of the new company. In 1936 the expanded company simply traded as the London Brick Company Ltd.

Because of the strong moral and religious beliefs of the Stewart family the village of Wootton Pillinge was transformed into Stewartby Model village. The Stewart family believed in sharing the prosperity created by the brick industry. As well as providing decent housing the employees benefited from better pay and working conditions. In recognition of this contribution the village became known as Stewartby in 1937.