Our project to re-roof Clare College’s Grade I listed Old Court North Range is nearing completion. The extensive temporary roof, which has provided year-round protection from the elements, during the essential roof and façade repairs is being dismantled, revealing new Clay Peg Tiles, Collyweston Slates and finely crafted leadwork.

Collyweston Slates, which date back to Roman times, are mined from the small Northamptonshire Village of Collyweston. The slates are created from a unique form of limestone which, once frozen and thawed several times in wet conditions, can be split into thin sheets of stone, by skilled craftsmen called “Clivers”. Historically, the slates were mainly used locally to the mines, however, due their ability to last longer than any other natural roofing material, combined with their pleasing appearance, the slates became the material of choice for many of Cambridge and Oxford’s Colleges. After closure in the 1960’s, predominantly for Health and Safety reasons, the Collyweston mines were given permission to reopen in 2015, adopting modern-day safety techniques and industrialised freezers, allowing production of the age old slates to be continued for use in select projects, such as Clare College.

We have worked closely with Freeland Rees Roberts Architects and Claude N. Smith Heritage Roofing, the only business currently able to mine and install Collyweston Slates, to complete the project which will span 14 months. The Old Court North Range is now partly covered with over 28,000 new Collyweston Slates, which were delivered through the narrow streets of Cambridge on 16 lorry loads.

The project, which also includes elements of internal refurbishment work, is set for final completion later this year, adding to our portfolio of work successfully undertaken for a number of Cambridge University Colleges.

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