Stewartby is a model village and civil parish in Bedfordshire, originally built for the workers of The London Brick Company. The village was designed and built to the plans of the company's architect Mr F W Walker, a later and more modern development than such better-known Victorian model villages as Saltaire. Started in 1926, Stewartby also is a later model than Woodlands which was first planned in 1905. The later retirement bungalow development of the 1950s and 1960s with the pavilion community centre in their midst was designed by the well known neo-Georgian architect Professor Sir Albert Richardson. Today, Stewartby parish also includes Kempston Hardwick.
Originally two Wootton farming settlements, Wootton Pillinge and neighbouring Wootton Broadmead, the Wootton Pillinge LBC village was in 1936 renamed Stewartby, taking its new name from the Stewart family, directors of London Brick Company since 1900. The family's famous son Sir Malcolm Stewart had amalgamated LBC with the Forders Company in the village in the 1920s. The site closed in 2008 as the owners, Hanson, cannot meet UK limits for sulphur dioxide emissions. The four chimneys remaining were due to be demolished upon closure but these have since been listed for preservation of Bedfordshire's brick-related history. and will remain.
Stewartby brickworks was home to the world’s biggest kiln and produced 18 million bricks at the height of production.
BJ Forder & Son opened the first brickworks in Wootton Pillinge in 1897.
Wootton Pillinge was renamed Stewartby in 1937 in recognition of the Stewart family who had been instrumental in developing the brickworks.
The firm became London Brick Company and Forders Limited in 1926, and shortened to London Brick Company in 1936.
At the height of the industry’s production there were 167 brick chimneys in the Marston Vale. There are four chimneys in Stewartby.
In the 1970s Bedfordshire produced 20% of England’s bricks.
At its peak London Brick Company had its own ambulance and fire crews, a horticultural department and a photographic department, as well as its own swimming pool inside the factory, and ran a number of sports clubs.
More than £1 million was spent on Stewartby Brickworks in 2005-7 in an attempt to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.
The factory used Lower Oxford Clay, which is made up of 5% seaweed, formed 150 million years ago when it was on the sea bed. This removed the need to add coal to the fire, as the organic material burned.
Stewartby has a railway station on the Marston Vale Line.
The village was to have been the planned location for the proposed National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats (NIRAH). This project was scrapped in June 2015 due to lack of investment funding.
Stewartby has been home to Stewartby Village Football Club since 1999. With Stewartby Village FC under the new management of Mike Griffin for the 2009/10 season, starting a new chapter in the Bedfordshire County League Division 4.
Stewartby is also home to Stewartby Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society who have been putting on performances of concerts and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in the village hall since 1951.
Kimberley College is a sixth form centre which opened in Stewartby in September 2013.
There is a lower school in Stewartby called Broadmead Lower School, which was opened in 1965. The middle school is Marston Vale, which takes in children from the surrounding area. The pond outside the middle school keeps flooding.
Currently a new Preschool is being built because the other one was too old.
There is a large park in Stewartby which has a new slide and zip wire. There are plans to extend the park.
The new housing development is called Hanson's Reach. Phase one involves 750 new houses being built. They will also be building a new park.