University of Bristol – The HH Wills Physics Laboratory, Avon, Riverstone, Random

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Location: University of Bristol, Bristol, Avon
Architect: Capita Architecture, Clifton
Slate Used: SSQ Riverstone®, Random, Grey roofing slate

Opened in 1927, the HH Wills Physics Laboratory was built as a tribute to HO Wills, head of the Wills tobacco empire, founder of the university and its first chancellor.

The grade II-listed building recently benefited from a restoration project that has rejuvenated its exterior. The original, very old, possibly reclaimed, Cornish Delabole slates were in poor condition with more than half being unsalvageable; ‘blown’ from water penetration.

Kevin O’Flaherty, the university’s Capital Projects officer explains: “The project team considered a number of alternatives before choosing SSQ Riverstone roofing slate – it was very similar in colour to the original slate, was within our budget and readily available. Camilleri stripped the roof back to the frame, replaced the battens and underlay and faithfully recreated the attractive random width, diminishing course effect of the original. We’re all delighted with the result.”


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