Collyweston slate mine produces historic roofing slate

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CQA International is proud to announce that mining has now commenced at an historic slate mine in Northamptonshire. CQA International Ltd has assisted with gaining planning permission for the mine, has prepared the designs for the new mine and has carried out associated environmental surveys.

The mine, which operated until the 1960s, has been left dormant ever since due to low demand for the roofing slate. However, due to a massive reduction in reusable reclaimed slate the mine is now deemed viable and CQA International were keen to assist with the reopening of the mine.

But why open a roofing slate mine in Northamptonshire when there is an abundance of cheap and plentiful roofing slate available? Collyweston roofing slate has been used on some of the country’s most iconic buildings and is found on over 2000 listed buildings within the UK. Some of the more well-known buildings to feature Collyweston Slate are the Guildhall in London and Kings College, Cambridge. It is even used on a public building in New York.

Collyweston Slate is produced by extracting the "Log" as it is termed and then subjecting it the elements where freeze thaw action slowly cleaves the individual layers until they are workable by hand. Traditional methods are employed to cleave the slates from the log and dress into a multitude of sizes before being used on a roof.

Several hurdles had to be overcome. First it is quite rare for new mines to open in the UK, so it is not something planning committees are faced with daily. Planning was complicated further as the site was not included in the local Mineral Development Plan and so a special case had to be made. Special measures had to be included to protect any bats which may use adjacent old workings as a roost.

The reopening of the mine is a great boost to traditional crafts in the small Northamptonshire village and will provide a secure source of authentic roofing materials to the benefit of both listed buildings and new constructions into the future.