Kirkby-based Burlington Slate was installing cutting machinery for roofing slates and taking on six more staff in 1990.

The machinery would cope with the demand for its new sawn-faced Westmorland Green roofing slate.

The roofing slate was completely flat with an even and regular thickness and it was 20 per cent cheaper than the popular hand-riven variety.

The machine would saw slate into strips, cut to length and give it ‘wittled’ edges. About 40 tonnes a month would be cut.

In 1991 Burlington Slate won its third Queen’s Award for export achievement.

The company was honoured for exporting its blue and green slates worldwide, including 100 tons of roofing slate to a Japanese golf club.

Burlington managing director David Wallace said: “Receiving the Queen’s Award is always a special occasion, but being the third time we have received such an important accolade makes it extra special.

“Over the last three years we have put a concerted effort into developing our traditional export markets, while at the same time opening up new and more difficult market areas such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

“The award has made the effort worthwhile.”

After praising his staff, Mr Wallace said the company planned further expansion for its US and Far East markets and would begin a major launch into mainland Europe for 1992.

The previous year Burlington had secured its largest ever export order to the Far East three contracts to Japan worth £1.5 million.

The slate was being used in the new IBM training quarters in Tokyo, a museum and a golf course. Since gaining those contracts the company had won more contracts from Japan and Hawaii.

Burlington Slate was set to receive its Grant of Appointment and plaque from the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Sir Charles Graham, on May 31.

The company had produced slate since 1843. The slate was quarried at six sites throughout Cumbria.