Preview: The Best of British Stone

British producers

The renaissance in British stone over the past 20 years is reflected at this year’s Natural Stone Show with more producers exhibiting than ever before. From sandstone to limestone and slate to granite, indigenous stones are vital for maintaining the character and vernacular traditions of the British Isles – the essential ingredient for maintaining our built heritage.

Chilmark stone from the Lovell Stone Group was used for this award-winning restoration of Wimpole Gothic Folly
Chilmark stone from the Lovell Stone Group was used for this award-winning restoration of Wimpole Gothic Folly

Its use, however, now extends far beyond conservation projects and includes external cladding in new builds, hard landscaping for both the public realm and private projects, and interiors in high-end residential developments. Then there are all of the bespoke projects including sweeping staircases, grand fireplaces, ornate sculptures, outdoor furniture and even public monuments such as the Bomber Command Memorial crafted from Portland stone.

Featured below are just some of the highlights you can enjoy at this year’s show:

Lovell Stone Group is showcasing stone from five quarries throughout the South West: Hartham Park Bath Stone; Chilmark and Chicksgrove; Hurdcot Greenstone; Purbeck and Somerset Lias. Shortlisted entries from a masonry competition with Bath College using Hartham Park Bath stone are on display and visitors are being asked to choose the winner.

The versatile Blue Lias building stone from Lovell Stone Group
The versatile Blue Lias building stone from Lovell Stone Group

Portland Stone Company Albion Stone will be on hand to guide building professionals. Albion Stone exclusively mine Portland Basebed, Whitbed and Roach limestone from Portland, Dorset. With a large, advanced masonry works, it offers a full range of Portland Stone products including: ashlar cladding; walling; flooring; paving and stonemasonry; as well as bespoke carving commissions. Recent projects include: New Ludgate (named The City of London Building of the Year 2016); The British Museum extension; and the St James’s Market development.

Curve appeal from Portland stone supplied by Albion Stone for St James's Market, London
Curve appeal from Portland stone supplied by Albion Stone for St James's Market, London

Bath Stone Group will show examples of its premier, award-winning Bath stone known as Stoke Ground, used extensively throughout the UK and beyond in new build and restoration projects.

Waterford Medieval Museum
Bath Stone Group supplied Bath Base Bed & Top Bed for the Waterford Medieval Museum, Ireland

Doulting Stone notably used in the construction of Wells Cathedral will exhibit the Historic Doulting oolitic limestone that has been quarried for 2,000 years. This versatile material is regularly specified for large mansion houses, modern developments, historic renovations and internal dressings. Doulting Stone was chosen as the main stone supplier for a Bloor Homes project – part of a development in Shepton Mallet of over 350 houses on Duchy of Cornwall land.

A successful new build - Doulting Ashlar House
A successful new build - Doulting Ashlar House

Forest of Dean Stone Firms with its commercial brand of Forest Pennant will be proving the possibilities with Pennant sandstone – horizontal or vertical, natural or precise, modern or traditional. Visitors will be greeted by a sculpture comprising alternating coloured layers of tones that occur naturally in Forest of Dean Pennant sandstone.

Forest of Dean Pennant sandstone used to stunning effect in this Wye Valley residence
Forest of Dean Pennant sandstone used to stunning effect in this Wye Valley residence

Caithness Flagstone quarried in the far north of Scotland will be promoting their hard-wearing Scottish flagstone that was the winner of several Stone Federation Natural Stone Awards last December. It is testament to the quality of the stone that the company has supplied the likes of the Scottish Parliament, Belfast Concert Hall and the National Museum of Scotland.

Caithness Flagstone was used for this award-winning landscaping project at Conway Square, Newtownards
Caithness Flagstone was used for this award-winning landscaping project at Conway Square, Newtownards

The Johnston Quarry Group will be demonstrating the possibilities of the block stone and aggregates extracted from its five quarries: The rustic Great Tew Ironstone in North Oxfordshire; Oathill and Sarsden in the Cotswolds; and the Hard White limestones of Creeton and Ropsley Quarry in Lincolnshire.

A fireplace crafted from Creeton Hard White limestone
A fireplace crafted from Creeton Hard White limestone

The Gallagher Group return to present Kentish Ragstone. As the last remaining company still quarrying Kentish Ragstone, Gallagher supplies stone for the restoration of historic buildings and new build projects, maintaining the local vernacular character of southern England’s historic architecture.

Kentish Ragstone at the Tower of London. The genuine stone is available today from Gallagher's Hermitage Quarry in Kent
Kentish Ragstone at the Tower of London. The genuine stone is available today from Gallagher's Hermitage Quarry in Kent

Artisan Stone Supplies quarry Gwrhyd Pennant sandstone on the hills overlooking the Black Mountains in the heart of Wales. They offer a full range of paving, walling, masonry and landscaping products for heritage sites, local authorities, refurbishments and new builds.

Semi-coursed walling from Gwrhyd Specialist Stone Quarry
Semi-coursed walling from Gwrhyd Specialist Stone Quarry

The Lamb Group will feature Wealden Sussex Sandstone from their Philpots Quarry in West Hoathly, suitable for both building restoration and new build projects.

Wealden Sussex Sandstone from the Lamb Group
Wealden Sussex Sandstone from the Lamb Group

Johnsons Wellfield operates one of the largest and best equipped stone working plants in the UK, extracting and manufacturing the renowned Crosland Hill Yorkstone, as specified in the Stirling prize-winning Sainsbury Laboratory.

Technical specialists from Johnsons Wellfield will be available to demonstrate the versatility of their natural stone products as pictured below in landscaping, architectural and commercial projects
Technical specialists from Johnsons Wellfield will be available to demonstrate the versatility of their natural stone products as pictured below in landscaping, architectural and commercial projects

CED Stone Group is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of hard landscaping products and among other materials will be promoting Cornish granite.

Bespoke Cornish granite benches in Sunderland supplied by CED Stone Group
Bespoke Cornish granite benches in Sunderland supplied by CED Stone Group

Welsh Slate will exhibit slate extracted from Penrhyn Quarry. Available in a range of colours and finishes, the stone is popular for heritage and modern projects alike – such as flooring in the British Museum and cladding at the ME Hotel on the Strand, London.

The Waddesdon Bequest Room 2a at the British Museum in London with its floor supplied by Welsh Slate
The Waddesdon Bequest Room 2a at the British Museum in London with its floor supplied by Welsh Slate

This is a small selection of what’s available at the Stone Show.  Click here to see the full exhibitor list.

And there’s plenty of free CPD opportunities at the show too to improve your knowledge of stone. Click here to choose from 30 seminars over the three days.

Register for free visitor tickets now

Find out more

Advertisement