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Bricks & Blocks

Wine Cellar at Tupgill Park, Coverham, North Yorkshire


The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company has helped to create “one of the most stunning wine cellars in the north of England”.

The company, based at Alne, near Easingwold, has supplied high-quality bricks and specials, worth £70,000, for the cellar at Tupgill Park, the estate near Leyburn, which includes the iconic Forbidden Corner visitor attraction.

The specials included rib vault bricks and vault headers, together with dog-legs, bottle-holder bricks and a unique brick door.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade, commented: “In providing the bricks for the cellar at Tupgill, which is home to one of the finest and most popular tourist attractions in the county, we have consolidated our reputation as the leading supplier of bespoke and special-shaped bricks in the United Kingdom.

“I have to say that this is one of the most visually stunning jobs that we have ever undertaken and we are delighted and honoured to have played our part in creating such an aesthetic feast. Apart from our traditional bricks, we also created some specials which we believe have contributed to an astonishing room.

“There are so many individual features in this wine cellar that it is invidious to pick any out, but I have to say that the mirror, which creates the impression of endless space, is brilliant. The bottle holders are very special, too, as are the vaulted ceilings and the hexagonal pillars” he added.

Tupgill Park is owned by Colin Armstrong, a diplomat who created The Forbidden Corner. Mr Armstrong is the brother-in-law of legendary jockey Lester Piggott.

Malcolm Tempest, the Bedale architect who designed the cellar and who chose York Handmade to provide the bricks, said: York Handmade’s wonderful bricks are an integral part of the success of this amazing cellar. The craftsmanship shown by the company’s brickmakers is outstanding and their expertise is second-to-none.

“I chose York Handmade because of their reputation and because I had worked with them before. In all honesty, there was no-one else I would have considered for such a crucial job.  And, of course, they didn’t let me down. They were wonderfully co-operative and a joy to work with. I am absolutely stunned by the final result and I want to show off this marvellous cellar to everyone I can,” said Mr Tempest. “This is something very special indeed”.

The bricks were laid by North Yorkshire builder Bernard Thwaites and Co. This contract follows hard on the heels of the news that York Handmade had won two of the most significant contracts in its 25-year history.

The company has supplied more than 400,000 bricks to the new Chetham’s School of Music in central Manchester and has provided 70,000 bricks for the iconic 87-storey Shard in south east London, which is now Europe’s tallest commercial building. York Handmade is also supplying bricks for the adjacent London Bridge Place development.

Both The Shard and London Bridge Place are being developed by the Sellar Property Group, backed by four Qatari banks. They are scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2013.