I have a Victorian-style home built in 1895. The construction is 3 layers of brick with 2 air gaps in between for insulation. The bricks at one gable-end are flaking, appear wet, and have salt-residue it would seem. I went in the attic, and everything seems very good - no evidence whatsoever of dampness, or frost, or anything like that.
Only thing I can think of is an old chimney that's been capped off might have warm, moist air from the house getting into it - although I can't imagine how/where. You can see pictures here: http://trunc.it/j2gt5
Above link has trouble. Here's the right one: trunc.it/j2gt5
I am not a roofer or mason but it looks to me like you have issues with the flashing / cap on top of the chimney. I am seeing efflorescence on the top bricks of the chimney, behind the overhang of the flashing. This leads me to believe that the flashing is not properly applied or caulked and water is making its way down through the bricks. The flaking or spalling is caused by the freeze / thaw cycle happening within the brick. It is popping off the faces and will continue through the winter until the problem is addressed. It could also be that the chimney needs to be repointed.
Hopefully some roofing or masonry guys on the site can chip in with a little more info.
You may want to put this in the "post your project" section so you can get some local contractors to have a look at it.
Good Luck with it!
Kettleby Handyman Services
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