To celebrate the recent acquisition of Keymer - the roof tile brand that has supplied quintessentially English, handmade clay roof tiles since 1588 - Wienerberger recently hosted an event at the Tower of London.
The celebration involved an update from various individuals from within Wienerberger and a keynote speech from world-renowned architect Maxwell Hutchinson. Mr Hutchinson’s speech focused on the importance of modern custodianship of historic buildings and the role of manufacturers such as Keymer in the preservation of historic buildings.
During the celebration, Ian Martinson, production team leader at Wienerberger, showcased the skills and artistic talents still nurtured at Keymer by creating, from scratch, a clay ‘Beefeater’.
The sculpture, which featured fine details including the royal insignia found on the guards’ uniforms, was placed in a competition, which guests were able to enter by handing over a feedback form. The skills held by Mr Martinson and the team will be harnessed within the production of the handmade tiles and in other aspects of the heritage service, including finials – the pinnacle of many a historic roof.
Annette Forster, director of marketing at Wienerberger, said: “We were delighted by the success of our celebration at The Tower of London. Keymer is a high-quality British brand that needs maintaining and supporting and it was great to be able to present our passion for the brand to our guests. What’s more we’re very grateful to Maxwell for his speech which highlighted the importance of Keymer within the current world of preservation and architectural best practice.”
While Wienerberger continues in its mission to develop new and innovative ways to manufacture construction materials, Keymer’s identity, and reputation for traditional manufacturing techniques is being robustly maintained. From its new home at Wienerberger’s Ewhurst factory in Surrey, Keymer will be continuing to manufacture the same high-quality tiles it has been producing since the golden age of Queen Elizabeth I.
What’s more, the future of Keymer is further secured due to access to a quarry that still holds reserves of Weald clay, which, at current production rates, will last for well over 200 years, providing the largest clay deposit in Europe for the manufacture of the tiles. In addition, the heritage and quality of the tiles will remain the same by using the same processes and, in some cases, the same equipment that has been used over the past 100 years.
Resulting from its place beneath the Wienerberger umbrella, Keymer tiles will be available for future restoration projects - joining the ranks of iconic historic landmarks including Shakespeare's Birthplace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle and St James’ Palace. Keymer is also the brand of choice for new private and public traditional, or contemporary projects as the beauty of Keymer is such that the colour combinations and hand-made, sanded-finish tiles blend perfectly with any choice of façade material.