A LEADING independent brickmaker has just enjoyed one of its most successful years in its 30-year history.

David Armitage, chairman of the award-winning York Handmade Brick Company, based at Alne, near Easingwold, said: "We have flourished in 2018, with contracts from as far away as Cornwall and Scotland.

“Significantly, our most lucrative work was in the commercial property and education sectors, rather than housing, which had been our staple for a number of years.

“Prestigious contracts that we completed during the past 12 months include the new Halifax Library, Pocklington School’s Art and Design Technology Centre, the House of Trembling Madness in York and the Westgate Centre in Oxford.

“The Halifax and Oxford jobs were shortlisted for major awards in the Brick Development Association’s Awards, the Oscars of the brick industry.2

Mr Armitage said that, equally encouraging, was that their order book was full well into 2019, with new projects including a £300,000 contract to build a new library at Magdalene College, Cambridge; housing developments at Lancer Square in Central London and King’s Cross; and a significant restoration project at St Albans Cathedral.

He said: “Our success has enabled us to invest in a new dryer, which will speed up the production process and make us more efficient.

“Looking ahead, it is encouraging to report that brick remains the building material of choice for many architects and specifiers across the UK. Provided the economy doesn’t implode, we anticipate a very successful and enjoyable 2019.”

York Handmade was founded in 1988, taking control of a redundant pipeworks in Forest Lane, Alne, with some excellent clay being of use for brick-making. Today the company has 30 employees with a turnover of £2.5m, with a target of £3m next year.

Mr Armitage said: “The key to our success has been our loyal staff, some of whom have been with us from the very start. The factory involves many and varied skills from engineering to ceramic expertise and relies on dedication and expertise at all levels of the production cycle.

“We particularly value the contacts we have built up in the last 30 years with architects, planners, self-builders and developers. We look forward to continuing those relationships in the years to come.”