Sourcing stone for the conservation and repair of historical buildings in Britain

Lott, Graham. 2013 Sourcing stone for the conservation and repair of historical buildings in Britain. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 46 (4). 405-420.

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Stone for the construction of buildings and monuments has been locally quarried from most parts of Britain’s lithologically diverse geological succession starting about 3500 years ago. Each part of the geological column, from the Precambrian to Quaternary, has yielded stone for building, providing a colourful palette for Britain’s stone architecture and monuments. For those involved in conserving these structures this diversity of stone types has become an increasing problem as many of the original quarries have long since stopped working and the stones have disappeared from the marketplace. This lack of an adequate range of indigenous stones suitable for conservation repair and for sympathetic new-build projects is a continuing concern for heritage organizations, property owners and developers in Britain. There are a number of ways in which this problem is being addressed. It is clearly important to demonstrate the scale of the problem by collating sufficient information to identify those stones (and, therefore, those stone structures) most under threat. Although some vernacular stones were often used widely others appear in only a small number of buildings. A national database of all indigenous stone sources and an assessment of their extent of use is, therefore, essential. Subsequent analysis of the data gathered will then allow those stones that are of critical concern to be identified, which might generate sufficient interest and economic potential for quarry operators to consider reopening sites for new stone production. This contribution is an attempt to give an overview of the former extent of the building stone resources of Britain to illustrate the magnitude of the current problems of stone supply.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1470-9236
Date made live: 07 Jan 2014 16:17 +0 (UTC)

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