Stones of The UK
Stones are of a variety and have unrivalled durability. Their nature enables us to use it for enhancing the architectural style of buildings to last long.
“Life always, for everyone in every possible aspect, begins with a belief and such are deep-rooted to its culture and tradition”
– Francis G Dimes.
As such, there is a belief that certain stones can cure illness– the 12 o’clock stone near Nancledra in Cornwall, is said to cure children of rickets as long as they are not illegitimate or the offspring of dissolute parents.
Another stone, also in Cornwall is equally strange, but not to blame the belief. Madron near Penzance has got a ring– shaped stone that has been believed for centuries to possess certain powers. The literature says that a child is made to go through the hole nine times, it is cured of scrofula, rickets and other diseases.
“Interesting causation is that the practice is not suggested during the depths of winter!”
– Ben Johnson
Thus, with their wonders buried within, stones started yielding to the eagerness of man to become usable which we all know.
As all nations, the UK has its own nuances, but its heritage with stones can not be sealed as far as history turns its pages. The heritage of Britain apart, the empire is blessed with availability of huge natural resources of stone families, spread throughout England and Ireland.
Most of the building stones of the UK are limestones and sandstones. It has a few areas of slate and granite.
In general terms, Limestones predominate in Southern Britain and Sandstone in the Northern side. Some limestones such as Portland have been used ubiquitously. Another sandstone variety of York stone is widely used especially for paving.
The most common types of natural stones are granites, marble and limestones, but there are a few others that are often used in residential applications – quartzite, soapstone, travertine and Onyx – these other varieties don’t fit the exact usage of the UK. The vast majority of man made stones can be divided into two types. Engineered Quartz slabs or Porcelain slabs.
Basket and Trap- are ingenious rocks, also called as green stones or white stones or blue basalt. They are hard and tough. Their specific gravity varies from 2.6 to 3.0/ high compressive strength is 150 to 190 MPa. Used as railway ballast, aggregate in concrete, pavement material etc.
Syenite – an ingenious rock, hard and durable. Its structure is coarse-grained. The crushing strength varies from 90 to 150 MPa. They typically are light in colour, but are available in different shades.
Limestones – a sedimentary rock category formed by deposition of particles of weathering, Calcium Carbonate is huge in proportion, soft and easily workable. Compression strength about 55 MPa and specific gravity lies between 2.0 and 2.75.
- Used to manufacture lime and cement. It is also used for flooring, roofing etc.
Chalk – a sedimentary rock containing pure lime in it, very soft and easily converted into powder, while in colour and has got a porous structure.
- The powder is used for manufacturing lime putty and also, as a pigment in a Portland cement.
Sandstone – sedimentary rock consisting of minerals like Quartz, Feldspar, Silica, etc. the hardness depends on the proportion of minerals in it. However, it is easily workable and available in different colours. Specific gravity lies between 2.65 and 2. 95,
compressive strength about 65 MPa and density, 20 22 KN/ M3.
- Used for roofing, paving, fencing works, columns and ornamental carvings, etc.
Caliche – also called as Kankariya falls, falling under the sedimentary category of rocks. It is an impure form of limestones, irregular in shape and hardness varies from soft to hard.
- Used as aggregate in pavement construction, to prepare hydraulic lime.
Slate – is a metamorphic rock which forms by the metamorphic action of slate under low pressure and heat conditions, hard and brittle, consisting of foliage texture and black colour in general. It can be split into thin slabs along its natural foliage planes, crushing strength ranges from 75 to 210 MPa, specific gravity, 2.89.
- Used for flooring, roofing works, partitions, damp, proof courses etc.
Quartzite – also belonging to metamorphic category, is of crystalline structure with a granular texture, hard and brittle, not easily workable, compressive strength, 115 MPa
- Used as road, concrete aggregate, etc., also used to construct retaining walls, rubble masonry, stone pitching etc.
Laterite – of a metamorphic category porous and spongy in its structure, soft and workable, hence quarrying is easy, low crushing strength, 1.8 to 3.0 MPa, when decomposed, turns into moo-rum which is widely used for road constructions
- Used for rough stone masonry works, pavement constructions, etc.
Gneiss – metamorphic rock formed by the metamorphosis of granite, has a foliated structure and can be split into thin slabs along its bedding planes, strong and durable. The crushing strength from 206 to 370 MPa, specific gravity, 2.69.
- Crushed ones are used for paving, rough stone masonry works, stone pitching, etc.
What is stone quarrying in the UK?
Firms in the industry mine ornamental building stones such as granite, limestone and sandstone, in addition to gypsum anhydride, slate, operators brakes, crush, roughly trim and saw each type of stone.
The industry excludes chemical and fertilizer mineral mining.
Limestone, Igneous rock, Sandstone, Chalk and Slate.
- Limestone mining
- Igneous rock mining
- Sand stone mining
Locally quarried limestones
The local stone tells its own rich story. Formed from calcium carbonate combined with layers of minerals, sediments, skeletons and shells fossilized millions of years ago, it is buried deep in the heart of the land around the UK. It is a truly appealing material boasting warm cream and honey tones with subtle patterns, giving it real authenticity and character. They are ideal for distinctive features such as columns, plinths and cornices as well as easily adoptable for ambitious building projects.
Travertine – is a type of limestone that is formed by rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, most commonly at the mouth of a hot-spring. It is characterised by pitted holes and troughs it it’s surface, although these are often filled before honing or polishing to a smooth finish.
- It is a popular stone for use in facades, wall cladding and flooring and to make bathroom items such as basins, stands, vanity tops, shower trays and baths.
About Mount-sorrel Quarry
It is a granite quarry locally and nationally renowned for its distinctive pink rock which is in high demand for some of the country’s biggest construction projects. At Mount-sorrel they produce for major infrastructure projects in the East Midlands regions and throughout the UK.
Located at the heart of the UK near Loughborough in Leicestershire, the quarry is ideally positioned to send large volumes of stone that help to keep the UK thriving. It is the country’s granite quarrying heritage. The rail distribution network is the largest here which is able to transport rocks efficiently and sustainably to the busy Southern regions of England that have no rock reserves of their own.
The Uk Stone Industry
Biggest companies in the stone quarrying industry in the UK
- Tarmac Trading Ltd
- Hanson quarry product Europe Ltd
- Breedon group PLC
- Cemex UK operation Ltd
- Aggregate Industries UK Ltd.
Stone quarrying in the UK industry statistics
- Market size: £2 billion
- Number of businesses: 494
- Industry employment: 6927
Stone quarrying in the UK industry outlook ( 2020 – 2025)
The performance depends heavily on construction spending including infrastructure projects such as roads. It is forecast to grow over the next five years buoyed by government commitments to stimulate the economy after the Covid.
The average industry growth between 2015- 2020 was 5.9%
The UK is ranked 4th in the EU based on both consumption and production. The UK is the 3rd biggest importer in the EU. The total UK import increased by 4.4% per year – statistics as per 2008.
The UK is inhabited by 61 million people making it the 3rd most populated country in Europe – statistics as per 2008.
The UK population has grown by 5 billion in the past decade. The growth has been reflected in relatively strong construction activity, although in 2017 and 2018 following the BREXIT referendum, people have stated to go home. With the BREXIT vote out of the way investment and consumer spending on property seem to have soared ahead.
Growing cast stone market in the UK
The material has got the imagination of architects, builders and their clients from the classical past in Britain to the present day. It can transform plane facades into something special at an affordable price with class.
Cast stone comparison with quarried natural stone
It is a much used alternative to natural stone and stands alongside in appearance and performance and is more readily available, costing significantly less. It can beat natural stones on strength, moisture penetration, colour and textural consistency. It has no imperfections. Cast stone is made by one of the 3 main manufacturing methods: Semi- dry, Wet-cast or Fibre reinforced.
The Stone federation of Great Britain
The federation has its own technical resources, directory of members, architects, training and careers and blog sites.
The federation represents employers, liaises with the government of legal affairs, health and safety, technical standards, craftsmanship, training and education.
To promote the use of natural stone as a building material in favour of other materials.
They always recommend using Stone federation members for natural stone products to ensure the highest levels of workmanship, service and excellence.