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 high-quality and flexible office space, helping creative, digital and technology businesses to start up and flourish. It will also feature a communal roof terrace.

Work started on site last year and will be completed by February 2025.

Circle Square is part of 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 engineering.

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.”