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Brine's Brush Factory (15)

Updated: Apr 23

7a Portway looks so different from neighbouring house as it is on the former entrance way to Brine’s brush factory

Over the years many people have wondered why 7a Portway in Wells looks so different from neighbouring houses. The answer is that No 7a stands on the site of the entrance to Brine’s brush factory.

There were several brush factories in Wells during Victorian times. They appeared to have been set up in response to growing demands for improved hygiene in the diary industry. A range of brushes was required to clean the dairies and the processing factories from which cheese and other milk products were distributed. One of the largest was the Cow & Gate factory which was in Glastonbury Road opposite where Wells police station is now. Now the Brine’s site has been marked with a blue plaque installed by Wells Civic Society.

Albert Brine bought the Portway site in 1869 and set up the brush factory which prospered well into the 20th century. Then Tom Morgan bought the property in the 1950s, demolished the factory and built No 7a as two storeys with office space on the ground floor and a flat above. Now a house, the present owner John Devane said: “I would like to thank the civic society for marking the old factory site. “It is important to inform residents about pieces of local history that are not well known.”

This is the sixth blue plaque installed in the city and more are planned during 2018 said civic society vice-chairman Philip Welch, who is leading the project.

“We are grateful for the support of Wells Rotary Club, who are paying half the cost of the blue plaques,” said Philip, “also to Sarah Villiers from Wells Museum for her detailed research into the history of Brine’s brush factory.”

The City of Wells Plaque Trail
The City of Wells Plaque Trail

Brine's Brush Factory is No. 15 on our Plaque Trail

Did you know about the Brush Industry in Victorian Wells?

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