TWO multi awarding-winning North Yorkshire firms are celebrating a 35-year partnership this year.

Leading independent brickmakers York Handmade Brick and architects Mitchell Design Company have worked together on a series of prestigious projects since 1989.

Guy Armitage, the managing director of Alne-based York Handmade, explained: “It’s a partnership made in heaven. We have the same values and the same commitment to excellence, beauty, sustainability and conservation. The projects we have worked on together have been a joy.”

Simon Mitchell, founder and managing director of York-based Mitchell Design Consultancy, added: “I am a tremendous advocate of York Handmade’s stunning bricks and am very proud indeed of the relationship we have enjoyed ever since the late 1980s when both our companies were founded.”

“It was in 1989, two years after my consultancy was launched, that I first worked with York Handmade. It was a project at Fangfoss Hall, a Grade II* 18th century listed building near Driffield, involving renovation, a new build, courtyard and landscaping. It won a Civic Trust commendation.

“It was an important commission for both of us, as York Handmade had just been formed, too. I was delighted to find that our visions coincided and we were able to complete the job to everyone’s satisfaction.

“Since then, York Handmade have always been my first choice of brick supplier when working on new designs and projects which require handmade bricks of quality. It is a remarkable business, serving the industry like no other in the country. Of course, it is an added bonus that their brickworks are only 10 miles down the road.”

Both Simon Mitchell and Guy Armitage agree that one of their very favourite projects was the creation of the new Art and Design Technology Centre at Pocklington School, near York, in 2018. York Handmade supplied 31,000 bricks for the exterior of the new multi-million pound building, together with 4,300 terracotta tiles for the interior floor.

Guy recalled: “It was a tremendous honour to be asked to provide our bricks and tiles for such a prestigious project. Pocklington School has a long and proud artistic heritage and this stunning building reflects this. Our increasingly popular linear Maxima Galtres bricks were used on the building’s exterior, complementing the contemporary design and fitting in with the school’s architecture and landscape.”

Simon added: “This project was a magnificent example of what a pleasure it is to work with a company like York Handmade. They are focussed and flexible, understanding exactly what a customer needs, and skilled enough to provide exactly what is wanted. In this instance, they helped to create a magnificent building, which should inspire everyone who works within it.

“For those of us who are determined to design and produce using the ultimate in quality, both in material and in innovation (York Handmade’s range expands yearly) the company is there to discuss exacting specifications for each and every project. Their assistance, I find, is always invaluable.”
The two companies have worked on a number of projects since, including Cloister Garth in Marygate, York, which won the Residential - Single Dwellings category of the prestigious York Design Awards in 2022.

Chair of the judging panel Andy Davey, said at the time: “All the judges were greatly impressed by the quality and professionalism exhibited by this year’s entries. It proves yet again that the city of York continues to inspire and foster good, uplifting architecture and sensitive design.

“The winners of the various categories, and indeed all the entries, have contributed enormously to the burgeoning built heritage of the city – including the small but perfectly formed new house at Cloister Garth, tucked discreetly behind a screen wall in Marygate.”

Guy Armitage concluded: “It’s always a pleasure to work with Simon. The last 35 years have been an absolute joy, the ultimate in positive and successful collaboration. Long may this continue.”

Founded as a partnership in 1987, the Mitchell Design Consultancy has won awards for commercial as well as residential projects. The practice specialises in architectural design and retail and conceptual schemes, both external and internal. Past projects include new builds, the restoration of historic buildings and public spaces such as schools and public buildings.
Likewise, York Handmade has won a host of awards for its outstanding brickwork and has just concluded a stunning development at Kings Cross, for which it supplied 300,000 specially manufactured bricks.