30,000 bricks for new chapter in Halifax Library's History

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30,000 bricks for new chapter in Halifax Library's History

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has provided 30,000 bricks for the new Central Library and Archive in Halifax.

About 30,000 specially-manufactured bricks will make up the walls of the new building.

Every single brick has been drawn by hand in the plans and sample walls have been built to make sure the bricks are exactly the right style, shape and colour to blend with the Grade I listed Piece Hall and the town’s many historical buildings. 

Calderdale Council and LDN Architects selected bricks by the York Handmade of Alne, near Easingwold, to ensure an attractive, high-quality façade.

York Handmade has been making bricks in York for over 70 years from local Triassic mudstone clay that has been used in the area for centuries. Its bricks have been used in a range of prestigious locations, including The Shard in London and Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

David Armitage, the chairman of York Handmade, said: “My family has been making bricks in Yorkshire for more than a century, so the new Central Library and Archive means a great deal to us. We are very proud to be involved and this contract continues a special tradition.”

Sample walls, constructed by GRAHAM Construction on the new library site, have allowed the Council and LDN Architects to test the bricks and mortar, including how the colour changes when wet.

The chosen bricks all have an individual character, as some of York Handmade’s manufacturing process is manual.

The mix of lighter and darker colours is unique to this project to ensure the new Central Library and Archive complements the sandstone that makes up most of the Piece Hall. The long shape of the bricks is similar to the ones used in many of Halifax’s traditional buildings.


The new library is designed around the remains of the Square Church and some of the new bricks will be used inside, next to the exposed stone of the church walls. 

The bricks will be laid at the new Central Library and Archive over the next few months and are already on the extension that will connect it to the Piece Hall.

The Piece Hall walls are also receiving the same meticulous attention to detail during the building’s transformation. Every single stone is being checked and where necessary, repaired with great care and sensitivity to the building’s listed status.

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:  “Paying full attention to detail makes all the difference to a completed building, and brickwork is an important part of the area’s built heritage.

“It is therefore vital that we get the look of the new Central Library and Archive, and the Piece Hall, right. The carefully chosen hand-crafted bricks will create a striking building that sits comfortably in its historic setting. Yorkshire has a proud tradition of brickmaking, so we are delighted to be working with York Handmade.” 

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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.