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York Handmade highly commended at brick Oscars

The York Handmade Brick Company, one of the leading independent brickmakers in the country, has been highly commended in the prestigious 2021 Brick Awards.

York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, was short-listed for three awards, following the company’s acclaimed role in the new library at Magdalene College, Cambridge; the restoration of St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire; and the brand-new Valentine House at Allostock in Cheshire.

St Albans Cathedral was highly commended in the hotly contested Public category and has also won a string of other coveted regional and national awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s East Award and East Conservation Award 2021.

The Brick Awards were presented at a glittering ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in the heart of London’s West End. Run by the Brick Development Association in conjunction with Building magazine, they are the brick industry’s Oscars.

York Handmade Chairman David Armitage said: “We are tremendously proud to have been shortlisted for these three fantastic projects this year and to be highly commended for our work at St Albans Cathedral.

“Huge thanks are due to the management team and employees at York Handmade for their imagination, enterprise and hard work, which all combined to make these projects so successful and so memorable.

“It is vitally important to stress that these entries are completely different jobs in design and execution, graphically illustrating our ability to work in a wide variety of colours and styles. We believe we can tackle any brickwork project successfully.

“St Albans is the home of some of the earliest examples of brick use in Roman Britain, so as a brick-maker, we are very humbled to supply one of the birth places of brick in the UK. St Albans Cathedral stands on the site of St Alban’s execution and burial. He was the first Christian British martyr,” said Mr Armitage

Andy Davey of Edinburgh-based architects Simpson and Brown, who worked with York Handmade on the St Albans project, added: “To be highly commended in such a competitive shortlist is a real honour. Having worked with York Handmade previously on a number of prestigious projects, including the major remodelling of York Art Gallery, we were delighted to re-establish our relationship for the creation of the new Visitor and Learning Centre at St Albans Cathedral.

“York Handmade were instrumental in providing specialist advice on the specification, manufacture and supply of the numerous types, profiles and shades of special bricks that were required in order to create a seamless blend between the new building and the existing 1980s brick-built Chapter House.”

Apart from the RIBA awards, St Albans Cathedral has also won the St Albans Civic Society Trevelyan Prize; the Best Public Building and Best Young Architect (Catriona O’Neill) categories in the Scottish Design Awards; and the St Albans Civic Society Plaque 2019/20.

David Armitage commented: “These awards are richly deserved. I am especially pleased to see such a talented young architect as Catriona O’Neill, who worked so closely with us at St Albans, being honoured in the Scottish Design Awards.”

York Handmade has a tremendous track record in the Brick Awards, being highly commended for its work on both the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre at Perse School in Cambridge and the Loxley Stables residential housing project in Hertfordshire. In 2018 the company was honoured for its involvement in the acclaimed Westgate Centre in the heart of historic Oxford and for the magnificent Halifax Library.

Going further back, York Handmade won a hat-trick of categories in 2012 with the triumph of Four Oaks in Little Bedwyn; Tupgill Cellar, near Middleham, North Yorkshire; and Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, while other prestigious wins included the Walled Garden at Scampston Hall in 2004 and St Brigid’s Church, Belfast, in 1995.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, York Handmade’s bricks helped Hawksmoor Homes win a coveted national award. The company provides bricks for Hawksmoor’s contemporary residential development in Pirbright, Surrey, which won the Best Boutique Development category in this year’s Evening Standard’s New Homes Awards.