St Pancras International
The works at St Pancras demanded a great deal of research, as the brief was to match the original components as closely as possible (the materials for the original works were all imported from the Midlands). The facing brick had to be made from the same clay as the originals (the only area where the clay is found in the UK is Leicestershire) and the lime mortar constituents had to be identical.
All bricks were hand-made and thrown traditionally with the brick-makers initials in the frog of each brick. In total, more than 80 trial mortar mixes were tried before one was found that met the strict criteria on colour and constituency.
Samples of all materials were taken from the original fabric and tested; patterns were also made to ensure the same profile and size were replicated. The original stone came from extinct quarries, therefore the British Geological Survey undertook a worldwide search to find the closest petrological match to the original.
The challenge of 5mm jointing to match the existing involved trials to discover the best methodology to recreate the original as closely as possible, with special jointing tools being developed as required. The arches were particularly intricate, a combination of stone and red rubbers, with each brick being rubbed to fit into its final position.
After voting the western elevation at St Pancras the Supreme Winner at the 2006 Brick Awards, the judges called it "the finest revocation of brickwork that they had ever seen".