St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

Project overview

Project name: St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Contractor: Associated Installations
Sub contractor: W O’Dwyer
Products: BMI Redland Rosemary Clay Classic in Red

Project description

When a fire destroyed the roof of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Willesden, it was vital to find roof tiles that matched the original Edwardian tiles.


Recently awarded ‘Heritage project of the Year’ the roof at St Joseph’s is a complex one, with several turrets, numerous dormer windows and a decorative, lead-clad dome at its centre. An additional challenge was the irregularity of the old roof which had to be re-created. “It was noticed from record drawings that the building was not constructed entirely squarely and that the existing roof pitches varied in different locations. The roof had to be set out to relate to the existing gables which had to be retained,” comments architect Bob Ecclestone of Wilby & Burnett.

Energy efficiency

Insulation was added to help meet modern energy efficiency Part L Standards and the new roof frame had to be steel rather than timber to meet modern structural design codes.

Project management & workmanship

One of the biggest challenges in re-tiling the roof was logistics. The whole roof was covered in a protective scaffolding, which slid open to allow materials to be craned in at certain times of the day. Most of the 76,000 tiles and many kilograms of lead came to the roof in small batches, brought in by means of a goods hoist.

The many period details required tradespeople with considerable experience and skill. It was important to select the tiling and lead works contractor based on performance, says William O’Dwyer of W O’Dwyer.


Rosemary Clay Classic provided the required aesthetics to preserve the Edwardian appearance and quality of a hand-crafted clay roof with the reliability of modern machine-made techniques.

The children and teachers returned to the school in September 2018. This dramatic chapter in the school’s history has not held it back, it was listed as the second-best state primary school in the country in the Sunday Times School Guide 2019.

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Heathrow Terminal Three

22nd May 2020. 12:52 pm

As an international airport operating 24/7, Heathrow required that all works were carried out without any impact to passengers. This effected the choice of materials, organisation of personnel and the logistics of getting staff and materials on and off-site.

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The Gables

26th May 2020. 12:53 pm

Heritage pitched roof solution for complex victorian roof design

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St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School