York company plays key role in development at historic cathedral

The new brickwork at St Albans Cathedral. Photograph: York Handmade Brick Company

An award-winning York company has played a key part in the restoration of the historic St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire.

York Handmade Brick Company was awarded the £60,000 commission – and was praised for doing “a magnificent job”.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade, said: “I think I am right in saying that St Albans is the home of some of the earliest examples of brick use in Roman Britain, so as a brick-maker, we are very proud to supply one of the birth places of brick in the UK.”


St Albans Cathedral stands on the site of St Alban’s execution and burial. He was the first Christian British martyr.

The cathedral is the oldest place of continuous Christian worship in the country and is a blend of architectural styles spanning over a thousand years, containing some priceless original Roman bricks.

Seamless look

The order included 4,000 differently-shaped special bricks
Mr Armitage said the order is “one of the most important recently for us”, adding:

  • It includes 4,000 differently-shaped special bricks.

    The order was originally for a competitor’s handmade brick. Sadly they ceased production so they could no longer supply the cathedral.

    Fortunately, we are able to move swiftly and match the specific handmade bricks for this project.

Bashkar Rughani, managing surveyor with main construction contractors Thomas Sinden: said: “York Handmade have done a magnificent job at the cathedral.

“Providing bricks for both the Welcome Centre and the adjacent Chapter House, they have achieved a seamless look with a great finish, which has been extremely well-received.

“The colour is perfect, effortlessly blending in with the rest of the historic cathedral.


“This was a very important and prestigious commission. York Handmade stepped in at short notice after another British brick company had ceased production and was unable to carry out the order.

“York Handmade acquitted themselves perfectly. They should be very proud.”

The project at St Albans Cathedral involved the provision of a new brick and flint ‘Welcome Centre’ extension building, along with significant alterations to the existing 1980s Chapter House building – both of which required careful replication of the existing hand-made clay facing bricks which were made to bespoke sizes and shapes.

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