Natural slate experts SSQ celebrate forty years in business

2020 sees one of the world’s most respected and well-established natural slate suppliers mark its fortieth birthday.

SSQ began back in 1980, when enterprising young Ahmed El-Helw fell in love with natural slate while visiting a trade exhibit in Spain.

He went on to become the first to import the highest-grade of Spanish slate into the UK, much of which had previously been reserved for the French market.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, however, as Ahmed explains:

“The British slate sector didn’t take too kindly to me entering the market with Spanish slate that was on a par with anything that indigenous quarries could supply.

“They mounted quite a colourful campaign against me – they had pictures of the Spanish Armada on magazine covers and everything!

“But the attention it gave me was a huge boost for my business.

“It was soon after that I began an exclusive relationship with the Del Carmen quarry in Spain, and it was then that SSQ really took off.”

SSQ found Del Carmen after commissioning a comprehensive geological survey of North-West Spain, a global hotspot for outstanding quality slate.

Today, SSQ supplies roofs and facades made with Del Carmen slate to customers all over the world, including Australia and America as well as dozens of countries throughout Europe.

Del Carmen isn’t the only string to the company’s bow, however – SSQ is also the owner of the San Luis quarry in La Repressa, Argentina, one of the world’s few sources of phyllite.

SSQ’s Riverstone phyllite is a stunning architectural stone that represents the next step along from slate in the geological process. With its outstanding longevity and characteristic grey-green tint, Riverstone has won fans throughout Britain and the wider world.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be marking the 40-year milestone,” Ahmed comments. “It’s a testament to the passion, drive, and determination of our staff, and the excellent relationships we’ve been able to build with our partners in Spain and Argentina.

“At present, we’re all living in very uncertain times – but I’m confident that we can weather the challenges that lie ahead of us, and that SSQ has another highly successful 40 years ahead of it”.

For more information please call 020 8961 7725 or visit