Putting natural stone on the map
At Lapicida, we have a real affinity with historic English stone, especially English reclaimed stone floor tiles. So when we heard that Minerals UK – the centre for sustainable mineral development – was conducting a Strategic Stone Study to create a database of natural stone for buildings in England, we were naturally interested.
Lapicida not only offers sustainable natural stone solutions by reclaiming and restoring natural stone floors from historic buildings, we are also involved in helping preserve and enhance some of Britain’s most historic residences. We have already worked closely with stately homes to not only restore their natural stone floors but also provide bespoke 3D carving of decorative stone for both internal and external use. We’re actually one of the few UK companies to be able to offer this combination of services.
Back to the database. This mammoth task aims to identify sustainable stone resources for building and conservation purposes, and to provide evidence of their importance. English Heritage and the British Geological Survey are working together to collate a catalogue of the historic sources of stone, such as quarries and mines, and also local building stones, their use, culturally significant buildings and villages in England.
Pulling all this data together will help gain understandings of patterns in the sources and supply of stone for historic natural stone buildings and hopefully lead to the re-introduction and use of indigenous stones. It will also historically show the suitability of different stones for particular end uses and help to safeguard not only England's building stone resources and stone built heritage but also the stone industry and stone craftsmanship on which it relies.
Nothing like this on this scale has ever been undertaken in England and, as stone specialists, we will find it not only interesting, but also an invaluable tool in terms of exploring the local sources and uses of natural stone.
The data is also viewable on a zoomable map of England and is colour coded to show the different stone buildings and quarries. You can view the beta trial version of the database showing English quarries and buildings here. It’s a huge ongoing task and more data will be added when it becomes available.