York Handmade enjoys “excellent year” – despite challenges
The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has enjoyed one of the most successful years 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: “2020 has proved to be an excellent year for us, despite all the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the chaos called by the global pandemic. We secured a number of lucrative contracts, especially in central London, across a number of sectors.
“We managed to keep our factory open for most of the year, with the strictest of safety measures in place, and I cannot thank our staff enough for their loyalty, commitment and expertise in this most difficult of years. They have all been superb.
“We flourished in commercial property and education sectors, whilst residential housing, which has been our staple for a number of years, remained strong. In these challenging times, it is vital to spread our work across as many different markets as possible.
“High-profile contracts that we have either started or completed during the past 12 months include Mount Row, a mixed-use development in the heart of Mayfair; Lancer Square, another mixed-use development in Kensington; a prestigious residential development in Ferrensby, near Harrogate; and a new library of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
“Equally encouraging is that our order book is full well into 2021, with major projects in London, Renshaw Hall in central Liverpool and Burton Manor in the Wirrall. To cope with increased demand, we are recruiting five extra staff in the New Year.
“Looking ahead more generally, it is encouraging to report that brick remains the building material of choice for many architects and specifiers across the UK. So I am confident we can maintain the progress we made last year. We are flourishing in commercial property and education sectors, whilst residential housing, which has been our staple for a number of years, remains strong. In these challenging times, it is vital to spread our work across as many different markets as possible.
“It is also important to be optimistic. I have been in the brick industry for many years and have seen the peaks and troughs. The signs are that the economy has every chance of bouncing back and, when it does, I trust that the housing, construction and manufacturing sectors will be in the vanguard of the recovery.
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 25 employees with a target turnover of £2.6 million next year.
David Armitage commented: “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.”
He added: “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.”