Del Carmen helps revamp Saltash’s ‘Gateway to Cornwall’

SSQ’s world-renowned Del Carmen natural slate has played a major role in refurbishing a much-loved and historically significant piece of Cornish heritage.

For over 150 years, millions of holiday-makers’ first glimpse of Cornwall has been Saltash Station.

Arriving over the Grade-I listed Royal Albert Bridge, which spans the Tamar River that separates Cornwall from Devon, rail passengers see an outwardly unassuming slate-roofed stone building.

Opened in 1881, it served tourists and locals for over a century, located at a key point along Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous Great Western Railway.

In the 1990s, however, British Rail was privatised, and while Saltash Station itself continued operating, the building was sold.

It quickly fell into disrepair, and by the 2010s, was virtually derelict, with a heavily leaking roof and trees growing inside it.

It was then that Saltash Town Council, encouraged by local residents, decided to buy the building and put together a plan to refurbish it.

Funded by Cornwall Council, GWR, Network Rail, the Railway Heritage Trust and Saltash Council itself, the renovation project sought to restore the site to its former glory.

One critical consideration was the roof – originally made of Cornish natural slate, the Council and other stakeholders wanted to replace it with something that was in keeping with the building’s heritage.

However, like many in a similar position, they found that sourcing Cornish or other indigenous British slate today was costly and time-consuming, with lead times often measured not in months but years.

That’s why they chose SSQ’s Del Carmen Ultra natural slate, as SSQ Marketing Manager Dora Kotzeva explains.

“Del Carmen was the perfect solution for several reasons – first, its authentic aesthetics, which have seen it used as an alternative to indigenous slate on hundreds of historic buildings around Cornwall and beyond.

“Second, its outstanding performance – specifically, it’s extremely low water absorbency, and 100-year guarantee.

“And thirdly, it’s wide availability – unlike indigenous slate, Del Carmen is available in large quantities, and at SSQ we’ve got thousands of pallets stocked in depots all around the country.

“Ultra-grade slate was chosen because it’s clearly superior to all other grades – it’s flatness, uniformity, and the need for less grading and sorting makes it the obvious choice for historical buildings.

“We’re delighted to have played a part in restoring a much-loved local landmark, and are confident the roof will go on to provide superb performance for decades to come!”

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