Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire

Client: Luton Hoo
Architect: Clague Harpenden
Contractor: Complete Roofing Contractors
Type of works: supply of SSQ First Sarria® Blue roofing slates.

Built in 1767, Luton Hoo is one of the country’s most architecturally important stately homes: a grade I-listed, Robert Adams’ mansion set in over 1,000 acres of listed parkland and gardens designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

Luton Hoo has had a rich and sometimes colourful history; in its heyday it was famed for its over-indulgent opulence and has hosted royalty, been the venue for state events and taken a starring role in several popular films including two James Bond classics and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Having stood empty for many years, Luton Hoo was rescued by the Elite Hotel Group who embarked on a £60million project to restore and refurbish the building, converting it into a luxurious 144-bedroom hotel with an 18-hole golf course and magnificent spa. The painstaking restoration and conversion of the mansion and other buildings on the estate has been complemented by the construction of additional guest accommodation in the elegant Parkland Wing and Flower Garden Wing, new staff accommodation and a fabulous, oak-framed swimming-pool building.

As a grade I-listed building, English Heritage specified that any roofing slate used on the mansion had to be the same as the originals. Gary Lambert, Complete Roofing Contractors Managing Director, takes up the story: “The mansion’s dilapidated roof garden was replaced with a new mansard roof; this was covered with reclaimed Welsh slates to match those still in place on the building’s pitched-roof surfaces. We also used them to reroof the stable block which was restored and given a new lease of life as the golf course’s clubhouse. As we were using reclaimed Welsh slate on two of the most significant, existing buildings, we were asked to recommend a new roofing slate that could be used on the new buildings; the requirement being that it had be a new slate, had to complement the Welsh slate, be of high quality and, as over 80,000 slates were needed, had to be readily available and not too expensive! In truth, it wasn’t a hard decision to make: we recommended SSQ Sarria® Blue roofing slate and this was unanimously accepted. It worked well and everyone liked it: its flatness and consistency meant it was quick to sort and easy to cut and lay. And, more importantly, it blends perfectly with the originals so the client was delighted with its appearance.”

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