York Handmade helps to restore historic valve house

View News All Articles

York Handmade helps to restore historic valve house

Valve House, BirminghamThe award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has helped to restore an historic Valve House belonging to British Waterways to its former glory.
The 19th century Valve House, which is situated at Icknield Port, Birmingham, had been badly damaged by a car. British Waterways have praised York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, for doing “an excellent job”.

York Handmade was approached by British Waterways at the end of last year to provide matching bricks to rebuild the dilapidated building. 

Mark Laksevics of York Handmade explained: “Special bricks were required to match the original surviving bricks for colour, texture, 
size and shape. We used more than 1,000 Benchmould Lindum Blend radial stretchers and 255 radial header specials to achieve the circular coursing and original bond pattern. “British Waterways were keen to ensure that the building work would be using traditional materials and building methods and we were happy to oblige. That is our strength,” he added.

The Valve House was built between 1824 and 1827 to house water control equipment for Edgbaston Reservoir. Edgbaston Reservoir, originally known as Rotton Park Reservoir, is a canal feeder reservoir in the Ladywood district of Birmingham which supplies water to the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Levels of the Birmingham Canal Navigations canal system via Icknield Port Loop.

The reservoir was designed by Thomas Telford as part of extensive improvements made on the Birmingham Canal Navigations between 1824 and 1829. It is likely that Thomas Telford also designed the Valve House of which there are a pair, the other being located next to Icknield Port Yard.

Elizabeth Turner of British Waterways explained: “Unfortunately in the 1960s the Valve House had been completely rendered in hard cement render. This render was chipped away by British Waterways Construction Team who discovered that only 30 per cent of the original brickwork could be re-used. The existing bricks had been damaged by the impermeable render and in some areas reduced to dust.

Want to know more?

Find out how we can help


York Handmade Brick has excellent credentials in supplying bricks to high quality self build homes. Choosing the correct cladding for your property is vital to achieving the appearance for the house that you have in mind. By using a genuine York Handmade brick you can ensure the building has all the charm and character of traditional buildings of the past. Our Maxima Range of long bricks are in strong demand for self builds of a more contemporary design.
York Handmade Brick have the capability to either replicate or make to design bricks of all shapes and sizes in a variety of colours and textures to match or create the product required. We are fortunate enough to have manufactured bricks for several award winning heritage projects conserving the glory of the buildings for generations to come.
Our Maxima range or long format bricks have been in great demand in commercial and public type buildings. We can make these bricks to the architects specification in terms of size, colour, texture and shape as we have in the jobs shown in this gallery.