The Use of Slate in a the French Regime

One can only speculate on the use of slate for roofing if the French Regime had continued. After the British conquest the French architects and engineers who were slate’s main promoters were either dead or had left the colony. Nearly a century would pass before slate roofing would again receive official recognition and acceptance for ecclesiastical and public building.

By the time English architects began to establish themselves in Quebec in the 1790s, tinplate had become, the most popular fire-proof roofing material for churches. Both Lady Simcoc and Isaac Weld travelling in Quebec in the 1790s observed that tin roofing on churches was already “the custom of the country.” The “froblantiers” of New France had developed a method to prevent rusting by laying the squares diagonally and folding corners over the nails, a practice continued by British builders in the construction of the Anglican cathedral at Quebec between 1799 and 1804. English use of tin for roofing in Quebec may have been reinforced by the fact that the chief supplier of tinplate in North America during this period was Great Britain.

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