The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has secured
one of the most significant contracts in its 35-year history.
The company, based at Alne, near Easingwold, is supplying
385,000 specially manufactured bricks for 3 Circle Square in the heart of
Manchester’s innovation district.
The contract is worth £580,000 and is a resounding
endorsement of York Handmade’s decision to invest £1.5m in brand-new machinery
earlier this year.
3 Circle Square, which is being master-minded by leading
Manchester-based developer Bruntwood, will be a stand-alone brick-built block,
close to Oxford Road. Designed by Bridge Architects of Manchester, it will
offer flexible office space and bespoke programmes of business support, helping
creative, digital and technology businesses to form, scale and grow.
Work started on site last year and will be completed by
Part of Circle Square is Manchester's Tech Incubator, the
home to a unique cluster of some of the region’s most innovative, fast-growing
tech businesses. It is ideal for start-ups, scale-ups and global corporates in
creative, digital technology, cyber security, AI and
David Armitage, the chairman of York Handmade, who are now
the country’s leading small independent brickmaker, commented: “This is a
massive project for us, especially in the context of these challenging economic
times. It has been a tremendous boost for our factory and a great honour to
contribute to a pioneering and innovative development which is redefining
Manchester’s cityscape for the 21st century.
Mr Armitage said: “This has been a crucial year for us at
York Handmade. We have invested £1.5 million in brand-new machinery which has
transformed how we make our bricks. Over the years, we have undertaken
significant technological improvements, culminating in this overhaul and
renewal of our manufacturing process, which has speeded up production, facilitated
two brand-new products and increased efficiency.
“This has proved to be a transformational move, by far the
biggest and most significant in our history. Our revolutionary new
manufacturing line combine three different types of brick - the Handmade Style,
as currently produced, together with Water Struck and Pressed Bricks.
“Crucially, the bricks we have supplied are for 3 Circle
Square are Waterstruck Thirkleby Blend, part of our Viking range and a stunning
example of what we are able to manufacture with our brand-new plant.
“Most of the Water Struck Bricks, which are currently very
popular in London, are imported, so we are now fulfilling an important demand
and supporting the sustainability agenda. We have an impressive track record in
London, with iconic projects across the capital, and we can now build on this.
“More generally, this investment will enable us to
manufacture high-quality, UK-made bricks for many years to come and it reflects
our commitment to the brick industry and the astounding architectural projects
using bricks,” explained Mr Armitage.
He added: “These are
challenging times, but I am confident we can maintain the progress we have made
this year, despite inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. 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 testing
times, it is vital to spread our work across as many different markets as
possible. Our contract at 3 Circle Square is a vital part of this.”