Preview: The Best of British Stone
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Lamb Group will feature Wealden Sussex Sandstone from their Philpots Quarry in West Hoathly, suitable for both building restoration and new build projects.
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.
CED Stone Group is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of hard landscaping products and among other materials will be promoting Cornish granite.
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.