Yorkshire engineering firm wins contract to build second retractable roof at Wimbledon

Computer generated image of the roof on No.1 Court, which is due to be completed in 2019, at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Credit: AELTC/KSS Design Group Ltd.
Computer generated image of the roof on No.1 Court, which is due to be completed in 2019, at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Credit: AELTC/KSS Design Group Ltd.
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ANDY Whitworth must swell with pride every time he watches the Wimbledon tennis championships on television.

He works for the engineering company that built the retractable roof on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, which means rain can’t stop play inside one of the world’s most famous sporting venues.

Mr Whitworth and his colleagues at Sheffield-based SCX have been awarded the contract to build a second retractable roof for The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which is the home of the Wimbledon championships.

The deal is part of a multi-million-pound project which is being carried out by the AELTC to redevelop No.1 Court.

The scheme will increase the seating capacity around the court and protect it from bad weather.

Mr Whitworth, who is the company’s special projects director, said he felt emotional every time he sees the retractable roof on the Centre Court on TV.

He said: “We started from humble beginnings, and have become one of the leading engineering companies in this field.”

Simon Eastwood, SCX’s group managing director, said: “We are very proud to have built the original retractable roof on Centre Court, so to be chosen by the AELTC to work on No.1 Court is a real honour.

“SCX is now one of the leading builders of kinetic architecture in the UK and this contract has taken our order book to record levels.

“Wimbledon is the world’s greatest tennis tournament, and we are incredibly proud to be part of the work on No.1 Court. Our technical innovation and engineering expertise helped us to produce a highly successful retractable roof for Centre Court, and we expect this project to be just as successful.”

The new retractable roof, which is due to be completed in 2019, is based on a concertina design with two main sections that meet in the middle.

It will be made of transparent Gore Tenara, a type of Gore-Tex fabric, which is stretched between the steel trusses. The roof is made up of 11 trusses and weighs around 1,100 tonnes. It can be deployed or retracted in around eight minutes.

SCX was founded in Sheffield in 1972, by Keith Eastwood. Today, the company is based on Roman Ridge Road, in Sheffield, and is led by the managing director and Keith’s son, Simon Eastwood.

SCX employs 150 people across its three businesses: SCX Special Projects; Street CraneXpress; and Burnand XH, and its annual turnover is around £30m.

Mr Whitworth said: “SCX prides itself on its expertise in the field of precision engineering.

“We have an amazing team of designers, engineers and suppliers and everyone is excited about working on such a prestigious project.”

The company has a strong record of staff retention, which is one of the reasons it has been so successful, Mr Whitworth said.

“South Yorkshire is the perfect venue for undertaking this type of work,’’ he added.

“We have a very interesting portfolio of projects.”