In 1887 the Northcote Brick Company decided to use some of its unoccupied land to build workmen's cottages. One of its directors, the architect Thomas Crouch, prepared plans for a site in Robb's Parade. The brick company supplied the building contractor and, presumably to cut costs, agreed to supply one load of (second-quality) bricks to two loads of broken bricks. The first cottages were ready in 1888 and a year later another eight were then built in Langwell's Parade.
Despite the cheap materials used the houses are still standing today.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.