The specification of Cembrit’s Diamond Fibre Cement slates has helped restore a historic 1930s cinema back to its former glory. Evesham’s Regal Cinema, recently shortlisted for ‘best rescue’ in the English Heritage Angel awards, is an iconic art deco building and 1200 of the Diamond slates have been installed to preserve the architectural integrity of the renovation.
The Regal Cinema opened back in October 1932, with the film ‘The Silent Voice’. In its heyday, the Regal offered a touch of glamour and proved incredibly popular, often selling out its full capacity of 1000 seats. Perhaps inevitably, as with many other similar venues across the country and with larger cinemas offering the pull of big blockbuster films, the Regal eventually closed in 2003.
However, in 2009 father and son team, Ian and Laurence Wiper, took on the challenge of returning this outstanding building it to its former beauty. The original building was designed by noted architect Hurley Robinson, a prolific British architect of cinemas pre World War 11. Laurence wanted to make sure they kept the original style and beautiful art deco features that Hurley designed, aiming to restore the building faithfully to recreate its previous grandeur, attending to details from the roof down to the door handles.
The building had fallen into a bad state of disrepair over the six years it was closed and the grade 11 listed building underwent a £2million restoration process that took over two years. The old roof had been eroded by wind driven rain, dust and the action of frost and thaw had dulled the surface, removing some of the surface coating. The existing verge closer had been incorrectly installed and had caused issues with damp. There were also uneven white patches, thought to be lichen growth, a common problem on man-made roof coverings of the age. The restoration process took over two years and was completed with practical help from volunteers, Cembrit Ltd and Plumbworld Evesham.
“The Regal cinema was such a gorgeous building in its heyday,” explains Laurence Wiper. “We wanted to make sure that when we renovated the property we preserved the art deco details and design while using modern materials. The existing slate roof had been quite badly affected by weather erosion and lichen growth so was badly in need of replacement. We were fortunate to find Cembrit’s Diamond slates which have proved to be the perfect replacement as they combine traditional appearance with modern performance and ease of installation.”
Diamond slates are lightweight, pre-holed and their consistent dimensions ensure that installation is a straight forward process. The blue/black colour matches the colour of the original roof and provides the perfect complement to the exterior design details. Diamond slates are a flat-square edged fibre cement slate using Portland cement together with a non-asbestos formulation of superior blended synthetic and cellulose fibres. Diamond slates are pigmented during production, pre-holed and fully compressed. Their attractive ‘retro’ effect is particularly suited to re-roofing of historic properties and for buildings in a rural setting. The cost-effective single lap format lends itself to simple duo-pitch roofs with no projections.