Products Used

Cornwall is known for its rich mining history, and the remaining landmarks scattered across the Cornish landscape are vital reminders of this legacy.

When the roof of a historic building called The Public Rooms in Camborne failed, a replacement was needed to ensure the survival of this important piece of Cornwall’s mining past.

Formerly used as assembly rooms, The Public Rooms were originally occupied by the Holman Brothers – who were credited with creating and manufacturing the rock drill which is still used in mines worldwide.

Today, the building is owned by Coastline Housing, an association that provides affordable accommodation for those living in Cornwall. This is an essential endeavour given the county’s housing crisis.

Due to the failure of the structure’s existing roof, a full replacement was imperative. Time was also of the essence, as residents continued to live in The Public Rooms during the work. Contractors Mid Cornwall Roofing worked with Coastline Housing to organise the careful and sensitive roof replacement using SSQ’s Riverstone.

Riverstone: an ideal alternative to indigenous slate

The previous A-frame roof on the building had failed because of large intervals between the rafters which had caused it to flex in extreme weather – this had meant that some of the slate tiles had split or become damaged over time. Due to the temperamental Cornish climate, a new roofing solution was required to ensure the building’s weathertightness in the coming years.

After consulting with SSQ’s Technical Specification team, Riverstone phyllite Ultra and First grade tiles were chosen by the contractors. Geologically similar to indigenous Cornish slate, Riverstone is an ideal alternative; offering unbeatable durability and strength, this material also has a unique “phyllitic sheen” which catches the light and elevates the aesthetics of any structure. The highest quality phyllite quarried by SSQ, Riverstone Ultra grade is also backed by an impressive 100-year guarantee.

After removing the old roofing materials, the 400 x 220mm Riverstone tiles were fixed with Nulok steel backing plates and 316 stainless steel spikes; this was done to ensure the long-lasting security of the tiles. The contractors also used SSQ Eaves Protection Boards to ensure reliable durability.

Access to the site was difficult because the building was still occupied by residents during the construction work, and so care was taken to ensure that disruption was minimised for those living there.

Restoring Cornish history

Despite the difficulties encountered, the project was completed within the 3 month time frame specified by the client.

SSQ worked with conservation organisations to ensure that the restored roof would harmonise with the rest of the historic building – consultations with English Heritage, Historic England and the Cornwall Conservation team were put in place to approve the specified roofing system and ensure the overall success of the project.

Because of the historical importance of this building, which is not listed but is within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage site, care was taken to carefully replace the roof and restore the building to its former glory.

The aim of the project was to reinstate the structural integrity of The Public Rooms so that the building could continue to provide affordable homes for those living in Cornwall. SSQ’s Riverstone has played an integral part in the success of the project, which has helped provide 18 finished apartments for residents in the midst of the housing crisis, and has simultaneously helped safeguard a piece of Cornish mining history.

For more information email info@ssq.co.uk, or call 020 8038 2675.