Tuesday, 3 June 2014

"Stone Matching"

The Triton Stone Library

Within a couple of months of starting Triton Building Restoration Ltd., I attended a Donovan Purcell Memorial Lecture that was given by the late Francis G Dimes - the former curator of the National Collection of Building Stones at the Natural History Museum in London.

His stories of the “geological detective work” required, when identifying the provenance of a piece of stone taken from a historic building, really struck a chord with me.

In London, the geology comprises Tertiary London Clay and Quaternary river terraces, with Cretaceous chalk and greensand on its outskirts.

These geological formations have supplied stone for various historic buildings, but most of London's building stones have been imported and it is not always easy to identify these. 

This very specialist skill seemed to come naturally to me and I developed a comprehensive collection of stone samples, on which the Triton Stone Library is based. This simple display of limestones, sandstones, granites and slates enables a specifier to easily choose materials for restoration, sympathetic extensions and new buildings.

The Tools of the Trade

As an independent consultant geologist, for English Heritage and other professional clients, I have undertaken surveys of the condition of stonework at many ancient monuments - castles, country houses and churches - as well as archaeological investigations. 

Surveys of Condition and Stone Matching

A survey of the stonework at a country house

I have also inspected a wide variety of working quarries and dimensional stone production facilities throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland, as well as spending 6 months moving, sawing and hand dressing various limestones and sandstones in Mansfield.

Working quarries in the British Islands