Cathedral Yard Exeter

Project: Cathedral Yard Exeter

Material: Single Ply

Project brief

Dominating Exeter’s skyline since the 18th Century, and credited as England’s oldest hotel, the Royal Clarence was a loved and firm fixture of the city, welcoming guests from all over the world for over 200 years. However, following a devasting fire in 2016, in which over 1,100 firefighters battled to save the iconic structure, the hotel, along with its historic neighbouring buildings was destroyed; including 18 Cathedral Yard.

Leaving a black scar in the heart of the city opposite its mighty Cathedral, construction consultants, restoration experts, members of the community and the local authority, soon rallied together to bring 18 Cathedral Yard back to life, setting plans in motion to restore the iconic structure; with a vision of staying true to the original designs as much as possible.


DFR Roofing was tasked with re-creating the warm roof of the remarkable domed structure, installing a finish which would mirror its historic surroundings. Lead Grey Single Ply Membrane proved to do just the job, and alongside its matching lead qualities and high-quality finish, additional benefits included its cost, longevity and high performance. Skilled workers were essential to tackle the dome’s unique specifications, with the membrane cut and mitred on site, while raised seams maintained the heritage style of the scheme.

Other areas of roofing works were also undertaken away from the dome, including high level podium works, significant box gutter and vertical cladding works, and the addition of a main terraced roof area to the rear of the property.

Now standing proud above Exeter, 18 Cathedral Yard has been bought back to life, to almost exactly how it was before the devastating 2016 fire. While the future of the neighbouring hotel remains uncertain, the restoration of 18 Cathedral Yard has helped to knit together the historic fabric of the local community, and the conical roof is now an unmissable element on the city’s skyline, lovingly restored to its former glory.

Get in touch today

Plymouth: 01752 255616

Torquay: 01803 316444

Exeter: 01392 255888

South Hams: 01548 854449