Skilled artisan: Brickmaker

Michelmersh Brick Company in Hampshire is famous for its hand-made bricks.

The skill of the ‘hand-maker’, as they are called in the trade, is to ensure that the mixture of clay, sand and coal dust completely fills the brick moulds.A single brick can cost as much as £320.

Listed buildings in particular need bricks of a precise colour, size and shape. Cathedrals, castles and the Prime Minister’s official country residence, Chequers have all benefited from the workmanship of Michelmersh.

Hand-made bricks are superior to machine-made as they provide better insulation and are more durable and more attractive to look at. Hence, you see that viaducts built in the last century are still in perfect condition today.

Featured in Country Life’s Living National Treasures, 1997