Best in London Brick (BiLB), the professional bricklaying competition established by leading building products manufacturer Forterra, returned for 2022 last week.
Hosted by Lewisham College, the contest saw professional bricklayers from across the UK compete to build a set competition piece.
First place was taken by Alfie Thompson from Swift Brickwork Contractors Ltd, followed by Luke Lovegrove from Highgrove Master Masonry LTD in second, and third was Connor Honeyman from Winchmore Brickwork.
This was a fantastic achievement for Alfie, who started as an apprentice with Swift Brickwork and has spent years working on his skills with them. Alfie is no stranger to competitions, having previously earned second place in the 2019 BiLB competition as well as in the Guild of Bricklayers competition in Ramsgate, and he achieved first place two years in a row at the Guild’s Barking & Dagenham competitions, all at senior level.
Luke also started out as an apprentice and is now Managing Director at Highgrove Master Masonry Ltd, a small family run masonry contracting company that specialises in bespoke stonework and brickwork applications.
Connor is equally familiar with bricklaying accolades, having placed third in the 2019 BiLB competition. He is a previous winner of the Guild of Bricklayers Junior Competition 2015, which he topped the following year by winning the Guild of Bricklayers Senior Competition in the London region. Later in 2016 he also won Barclays Group Apprentice of the Year.
Bob Noseda, Sector Skills Advisor at Lewisham College, said: “It was fantastic to be able to host Forterra’s Best in London Brick competition again, and see some familiar faces. Congratulations to Alfie, Luke, and Connor, who are all outstanding bricklayers and a credit to the sector – they always give 100%. And congratulations to all attendees, each of whom showcases the remarkable talent and dedication across the sector.
“Helen Newberry at Forterra is a great supporter of education and competitions, a true star in the brickwork industry.”
Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of Forterra, said: “As a leading UK manufacturer of building products, we are keen to encourage our country’s bricklayers to challenge themselves creatively and hone their professional skills in the process. In donating our London Bricks for use during this competition, we hope to support high standards of bricklaying in Britain, with a view to filling technical skills gaps and bolstering UK productivity.”
London Brick, which has been in production for more than 140 years, has an iconic “frog” design which means it is easier to work with, making it an ideal product for professional bricklayers. Today, the brand, whose heritage is closely linked to economic regeneration due to its role in post-war housebuilding, is used almost exclusively for residential renovation, maintenance and improvement.