It’s had its ups and downs but few products can stand the test of time better than slate.
The slate industry in the UK can trace its history back to Wales during the Roman period. Those über developers of the ancient world used slate to roof a fort at Segontium, now Caernarfon. From these modest beginnings the slate industry grew slowly until the early 18th century, then expanded rapidly through the late 19th century with rail links allowing the easy transportation of slate around the UK and to ports for export.
Predominately used for roofing, slate has also been produced in thicker slabs for a variety of uses including flooring, worktops and headstones. Slate has dominated economies in the regions where deposits have been found, with the slate industry having a real rollercoaster ride since the heady days of the industrial revolution with slate seeing increasing competition from other roofing materials during the 20th century and up to the present day.
Whilst slate production in the UK is at a much reduced rate, the benefits of utilising natural slate mean it is still very much in demand. As Burnley’s JRC Specialist Slate Suppliers can testify, with increasing demand the company are now supplying an extensive range of top quality natural slate from UK sources in Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall and importing a wide selection of the finest Spanish slate via their own warehousing facilities at Portbury and Greenock Docks.
Spanish slate currently accounts for 90% of Europe’s natural slate used for roofing. JRC source Spanish roofing slates direct from the slate quarries ensuring continuity and high quality slates and tiles the Calidad and Venta slate ranges for example offer a varying degree of slate roofing tiles and characteristics which can be easily matched to different uses and budget.
Rosie Connor, Director of Planning at JRC comments, “Slate is a natural product so by its very nature the tiles are unique with varying properties. Part of our remit is to help customers find out which is the right slate for them, from an economical, practical and aesthetic view point”.At the same time we have also developed a large network of merchants across the uk allowing them to quickly and easily supply the right slare roofing tiles for a multitude of projects.
Natural slate has some exceptional qualities not least of which is its considerable durability with a useful and productive life of more than 100 years. It is waterproof and unaffected by normal extremes of temperature, highly resistant to acids, alkalis and other chemicals and it is colour-fast and non-fading, even in strong UV light. Slates durability also means there is a thriving market for reclaimed slate, keen to lessen the impact on the environment. JRC for instance have an extensive slate reclamation program that provides a wide variety of sizes and colours which can be matched to suit a customer’s exact requirements.
Slate may have had a long and turbulent history but the natural beauty and appeal of this diverse and durable product is in no way diminished.
For further information on JRC Specialist Slate Suppliers visit www.jrcslate.co.uk