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York handmade looks to the future

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company is looking forward to a positive post-Coronavirus year with a healthy pipeline of work.

The company is currently working on a raft of prestigious commercial and residential developments across the UK.

Based at Alne, near Easingwold, York Handmade is the leading independent brickmaker in the north of England. Before the lockdown, it had enjoyed the most successful 12 months in its 30-year history with a record turnover of over £2.7m.

Chairman David Armitage said: “Before Coronavirus struck, we were flourishing, with some high-quality commissions in London, Cambridge, the North West and, of course, Yorkshire.

“Obviously the lockdown has hit us, but we have kept our factory open – with strict social distancing and safety measures in place. As the country emerges, albeit slowly, from this nightmare, we are well-positioned to tackle the tough challenges posed by Coronavirus and to emerge stronger than ever.

“Our order book for this year is very healthy, with a number of exciting commissions on the horizon. We have just completed two huge projects in London, Lancer Square in Kensington and One Molyneux Street in Marylebone, and there are two more high-quality developments in the pipeline in Mayfair and King’s Cross.”

He added: “There were fears that Covid-19 might hit the self-build residential property market hard, but that is not our experience. We are providing bricks for self-build projects across the UK.”

These include commissions in York, Doncaster, Sheffield, Liverpool, the Wirral, Durham, Hexham, Shropshire, Rugby and Stoke, totalling almost £1m.

Mr Armitage added: “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.”

York Handmade was founded in 1988, taking control of a redundant pipeworks in Forest Lane, Alne, with only some excellent clay being of any use for brick-making. Since then the company has grown to 30 employees.

He said: “The key to our success has been our loyal staff, some of whom have been with us from the very start. They have demonstrated this loyalty during the current crisis and we are indebted to them.

“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 32 years with architects, planners, self-builders and developers. We look forward to continuing those relationships in the years to come.”

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