Welsh Slate stars in a Landmark refurbishment

Natural Welsh slates have been used in the refurbishment of a historic house.

A historic seaside villa is enjoying a new lease of life as a Landmark Trust holiday let, thanks in part to Welsh Slate, part of the Lagan group.

Some 150m2 of Welsh Slate’s natural Cwt Y Bugail County-grade roof slates in various sizes have been used on the stables and Grade II* listed main house at Belmont House in the Conservation Area of Lyme Regis in Dorset.

Belmont was home in the 1970s to the author John Fowles, whocompleted The French Lieutenant’s Woman from his writing room on the first floor of the house, and whose widow sold it to the building preservation charity.

Before that, in the late 18th/early 19th Century, it was the home of Eleanor Coade, the businesswoman who perfected the manufacture of Lithodipyra or Coade artificial stone for Neoclassical statues, architectural decorations and garden ornaments.

Her company produced stoneware for St George’s Chapel in Windsor, The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, the Royal Naval College in Greenwich and Buckingham Palace. Given Belmont House by an uncle in 1784, it became a 3D catalogue for Coade.

The £1.8 million restoration of the 18th Century property complete with observation tower into a holiday let for up to eight people has taken two years, with the 45˚ pitch re-roof of the main house and stables carried out by Rowsell Roofing through the winter, requiring the scaffolding to be fully sheeted.
The design of the roof with the natural Welsh slates, which are guaranteed for 100 years, was straightforward, with a parapet gutter to the front, valley gutter in the centre and drain to guttering at the rear.

Landmark Trust surveyor and Belmont project manager Carole Paton said: “Welsh Slate was specified as it was the original material so it needed to be in keeping with the building but it was also specified for its quality and longevity.”

She added: “We favour natural products which are in tune with historic buildings. It was part of our desire to produce a high-quality job that will perform for 100 years plus.”