York Handmade Helps to Restore Iconic Scottish Church to Its Former Glory

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has played a crucial role in the restoration of one of Scotland’s most iconic churches.

York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, has provided 12,000 specially-made bricks for St Bride’s Church in East Kilbride, near Glasgow.

St Brides was designed by the celebrated architect, Professor Andy MacMillan, whose Scottish practice Gillespie Kidd & Coia worked extensively on ecclesiastical buildings from the 1950s through to the 1990s.

The church is heralded as one of the finest examples of the post-war British modern Brutalist style and has won a series of major architectural awards.

Paul Stallan of Stallan-Brand, the architects in charge of the restoration, explained: “The church is built entirely of brickwork. Its structure, construction, landscape and interior are the same. Finding a brick specification and type that matched the integrity of the existing material was no easy task.

“Thankfully the York Handmade Brick Company assisted us in this respect, helping us source a brick that was an exact match in every regard, a brick that was resilient in a Victorian industrial sense and had a colouration and density that ensured repairs to the building were seamless.

“Stallan-Brand are delighted with the commodity and firmness of the new brick sourced and supplied for the essential restoration of St Bride’s Church, ensuring that the architecture remains true and accessible to the local and academic community that love it so much,” added Mr Stallan.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade Brick, commented: “This was a very significant commission for us and we were very honoured to undertake it. To help to restore one of Scotland’s most iconic churches, and to be praised for our work, is very humbling.

“We took great care in creating exactly the right type of brick in terms of texture, density and colour to suit the Grade A-listed St Bride’s Church and Presbytery and we are delighted our new bricks fit in seamlessly with the old.

“East Kilbride was Scotland’s first new town, one of many towns built nationwide to accommodate housing shortages after the Second World War. St. Bride’s, accompanied the expansion, with a Roman Catholic place of worship that aimed to reflect the changing tides of modernism.

The York Handmade Brick Company has undertaken a number of projects in Scotland, the most notable being Dumfries House, a pioneering Scottish restoration project masterminded by the Prince of Wales.

York Handmade created 47,000 Dumfries Blend bricks for the Walled Garden and the Belvedere Folly at Dumfries House.

The quality of the bricks themselves was praised by Prince Charles at the prestigious opening ceremony, which was also attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The project was won the Best Outdoor Space category in the Brick Awards, the Oscars of the brick industry, for its “magnificent achievement” in restoring the Belvedere and Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden at Dumfries House to their former glory.

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