In the case of soft victorian bricks, it is usually someone repointing
them with a cement based mortar so that the mortar ends up harder than
the brick so when things expand and contract something has to give.
Some patterns of bricks can easily be put in upside down. You will
sometimes se a wall that looks wet in ome places and dry in others
shortly after rain. I imagine that if frost gets on the badly placed
ones, the frost can blow the face off.
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