Tim Bristow, of Clay Clay, with a miniature clay brick building of a Georgian mansion. Picture by Peter Boam.
TIM Bristow is a man with a passion for bricks.
One of the founders of the York Handmade Brick Company and owner of Bembridge shop Clay Clay, which sells brick and terracotta items ranging from flower pots to kitchenware, Tim has now launched his own range of miniature clay brick building kits.
Believed to be the only such kits manufactured in the UK, designs include a small Georgian house, a castle and a replica of the Albert Barracks — a miniature fort built at Osborne House by Queen Victoria’s children.
"Up to the early 1960s one of the most popular toys were building assembly kits, using little bricks, mortar and a bit of patience but the introduction of plastic bricks saw their popularity diminish," said Tim, 51, of Nettlestone.
"The Clay Clay kits are all made here in the shop and the reaction so far has been very positive," he added.
"I think parents are sick of their children playing on the computer instead of doing something creative and that’s part of their appeal."
Every kit has been lovingly put together by Tim, and includes miniature bricks — sourced from reclaimed IW bricks and terracotta made by the York Handmade Brick Company — mortar, plans and laminated windows and doors.
They range from 50 bricks, for the more simple designs, to 350 bricks for those looking for more of a challenge.
The Island is well known for bricks and pottery making and there were more than 80 brickworks on the IW until the 1970s.
"I was inspired to make the kits because I spotted a gap in the market but also because I have an absolute passion for bricks," said Tim.
"The history of brick making on the Island is very rich and I can’t believe no-one does it any more."
Tim’s kits will be on display at this year’s Grand Designs Show, in London, from April 30 to May 8.