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Dundee Museum of Transport receives donation of historic slate from old cinema

Dundee Museum of Transport was delighted to accept a donation of slate roof tiles from the former Regal Cinema in Broughty Ferry. The cinema which was built in 1870 had been used as a showroom by West End Honda Garage since the mid 1990s was recently deemed unsafe and a risk to the public. It is currently being demolished.

However, the rare Scotch slate tiles from the roof have been salvaged and donated to Dundee Museum of Transport in a kind gesture by garage owner James Ewart.

Knowing about the museum’s plans to renovate Maryfield Tram Depot, Mr Ewart offered the tiles to the museum to see if they might be suitable for the renovation of the 1901 building.

Obtaining new Scotch slate is virtually impossible with costly heavy Spanish slate being the closest equivalent available. The donation is therefore most welcome as it allows the museum to comply with Historic Scotland’s preference to use authentic materials in the renovation, whilst also bringing down costs from sourcing new slates.

The tiles have been carefully removed by contractor Dave Hovell of Dundee Plant and will now be recycled and used for the ongoing repairs to the roof of the old depot which will become the new home of the museum in 2024.

Museum Chairman David Sigsworth said, “We are delighted to receive this kind donation of rare Scotch slate which will help preserve Dundee’s only remaining tram shed. The Museum trustees are particularly pleased that the materials from the fondly remembered cinema can be used to bring another historic Dundee building back to life.”

Repairs to make the tram depot safe and watertight began earlier this year, and recent planning approval means that the full restoration and development of the building to create the new exhibition space can continue.

The project is expected to cost in the region of £5 million with fundraising efforts continuing throughout 2023 and 2024.

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