AN INDEPENDENT brick-maker in North Yorkshire enjoyed a record turnover in 2019 - and says it is confident it can emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.
The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company experienced the most successful 12 months 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, said: “The last 12 months have proved to be excellent for us, despite all the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit. We have flourished, with some prestigious commissions in London, Cambridge and, of course, Yorkshire.
“Our turnover was a record £2,725,000 in 2019, which was up nine per cent on 2018. This has enabled us to tackle the tough challenges posed by coronavirus head on. I have now been in the brick industry for 60 years and am old enough to have experienced feast then famine and vice versa.
“In this context, we remain confident, but not complacent, that we can ride out this vicious storm and emerge stronger. Our order book for this year is healthy, with a number of exciting commissions on the horizon.
“Significantly, our most lucrative work is currently in the commercial and residential development property and education sectors, rather than housing, which has been our staple for a number of years.
Contracts that York Handmade has completed – or have been working on - during the past 12 months include St Albans Cathedral; Jesus College and Magdalene College, Cambridge; Lancer Square in London; and a housing project in Slingsby.
The company has invested in a new dryer to speed up the production process and become more efficient.
“Looking ahead, it is encouraging to report that brick remains the building material of choice for many architects and specifiers across the UK," said David. "Provided the economy recovers from the coronavirus crisis, we anticipate a successful end to 2020."
York Handmade was founded in 1988, taking control of a redundant pipeworks in Forest Lane, Alne. Since then the company has grown to 30 employees.
David said: “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.”