Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom re-roofed

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WORK on a like-for-like replacement of the original Welsh Slate roof of Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom is now complete.

More than 18,000 Heather Blue roofing slates from Welsh Slate’s Penrhyn quarry in North Wales have been used at the Grade I-listed venue.

Owner Blackpool Council has spent £650,000 in replacing the outer roof structure as part of a wider £6m makeover of the Blackpool Tower complex. This is the first time the roof has been re-slated in the ballroom’s 111-year history.

Cumbria-based MPM North West, and consultants and designers GVA Grimley, have overseen the like-for-like replacement of the slate section of the roof.

MPM North West managing director Mike Hawkins said: “The ballroom has a faceted, mansard-type roof with a 30m x 15m lead section in the centre of three main slate pitches.

“The re-slating work was fairly intricate and the extreme weather didn’t make things any easier, and in order to protect the ballroom we had to build a 60m x 70m temporary roof.

“It was a complex job but it’s a pleasure to look at now it’s complete. All credit to Blackpool Council for taking a pro-active approach to protecting an important landmark.”

The Tower Ballroom was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1899. In 1956 a fire destroyed the dance floor and restaurant, and restoration took two years.
The ballroom hosted the grand final of BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, and the venue has also hosted many music concerts by acts including the White Stripes.

As well as re-slating, renovation of the roof has included replacement of leadwork and repair work to the opening roof mechanism above the dance floor.

Colin Falconer, Welsh Slate’s sales manager for western England, said: “Blackpool Tower is a world-famous landmark and Welsh Slate is proud to have played a part in restoring it to its former glory.”