Brick manufacturer poised to reap rewards of £1.5m investment

York Handmade Brick Company has invested £1.5m in brand-new machinery which will transform how the company makes bricks.

The business is confident this investment will open a new chapter in its history. The first bricks from the new plant will be available in March.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, said: “Over the years, we have undertaken significant technological improvements, culminating in this £1.5m overhaul and renewal of our manufacturing process, which will speed up production, facilitate two brand-new products and increase efficiency.

“This is a transformational move, by far the biggest and most significant in our history.

“Our revolutionary new manufacturing line will combine three different types of brick – the Handmade Style, as currently produced, together with Water Struck and Pressed Bricks.

“Most of the Water Struck Bricks, which are currently very popular in London, are imported, so we are fulfilling an important demand and supporting the sustainability agenda.

David Armitage

“We have an impressive track record in London, with iconic projects across the capital, and we can now build on this.

“More generally, this investment will enable us to manufacture high-quality, UK-made bricks for many years to come and it reflects our commitment to the brick industry.”

This investment comes in the wake of a successful year for the firm, culminating in supplying the bricks for the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize-winning new library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Armitage added: “These are challenging times but I am confident we can maintain the progress we made last year, despite inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, this year.

“We are flourishing in commercial property and education sectors, while residential housing, which has been our staple for a number of years, remains strong.”

Apart from Magdalene College Library, high-profile contracts the company has completed during the past 12 months include Mount Row, a mixed-use development in Mayfair; a prestigious residential housing development at Kings Cross; and two residential projects in Yorkshire, at Felixkirk and Easingwold.

Armitage said: “It is encouraging to report that brick remains the building material of choice for many architects and specifiers across the UK.

“We particularly value the contacts we have built up over the years with architects, planners, self-builders and developers.

“We look forward to continuing those relationships in the years to come and are confident our new plant will help us immensely in achieving this objective.”