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York Handmade’s ‘excellent year’ helps to tackle the challenges of Coronavirus

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has enjoyed the most successful 12 months in its 30-year history.

Based at Alne, near Easingwold, York Handmade is the leading independent brickmaker in the north of England.

Chairman David Armitage, commented: “The last 12 months have proved to be excellent for us, despite all the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit. We have flourished, with some prestigious commissions in London, Cambridge and, of course, Yorkshire.

“Our turnover was a record £2,725,000 in 2019, which was up 9 per cent on 2018. This has enabled us to tackle the tough challenges posed by Coronavirus head on. I have now been in the brick industry for 60 years and am old enough to have experienced feast then famine and vice versa.

“In this context, we remain confident, but not complacent, that we can ride out this vicious storm and emerge stronger. Our order book for this year is healthy, with a number of exciting commissions on the horizon.

“Significantly, our most lucrative work is currently in the commercial and residential development property and education sectors, rather than housing, which has been our staple for a number of years.

Prestigious contracts that York Handmade has completed – or have been working on – during the past 12 months include St Albans Cathedral; Jesus College and Magdalene College, Cambridge; Lancer Square in Kensington, London; and a prestigious housing project in Slingsby, near York.

David Armitage explained: “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 recovers from the Coronavirus crisis, we anticipate a successful end to 2020,” he added. “Two London projects, one in Mayfair and one in King’s Cross, are especially exciting.”

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.