8 Jul 2016

Stone Heritage Launch

Last night saw the Federation welcome members to the historic Royal College of Surgeons for the launch of the new-look Stone Heritage Group.

The event was the member-exclusive launch for this exciting new initiative within the heritage sector and gave delegates a chance to hear from the Stone Heritage group Chairman, Bernard Burns of Szerelmey about some of the plans.

The remit of Stone Heritage is to highlight and champion all matters pertaining to the use, repair, restoration, conservation, cleaning and maintenance of natural stone in the heritage, historic and ecclesiastical sector.  The primary aim of the group will be to connect you with the key players and clients within the Heritage sector, whether that be small private historic homeowners or larger bodies such as major historic organisations. 


The evening also provided members with a chance to be among the first to hear about an exciting new project within the Stone Heritage group, the Stone Heritage Register.  The aim of the Register will be to provide a resource for heritage industry professionals to help them identify which member firm is best suited to their project, whatever the size or budget. 

Ian Major of StoneTrain provided delegates with an insight into the results of a questionnaire that the Federation had sent to its members, which will help form the basis of the Register.  Ian also looked at training within the heritage sector and told members what courses were available, and the grants they could to offset the costs.

Dr Tim Yates of BRE closed the presentations with a look at the relationship between the heritage sector and technical aspects of the natural stone industry, especially the importance of correct sourcing of stone on heritage projects.

The evening closed with drinks, canapes and a chance for members to network with the other delegates.  This proved to be a well-received opportunity and some fantastic connections were made.

It was incredibly encouraging to receive very positive feedback from the members who came.  The general consensus of opinion was that the Stone Heritage group and Register will place members at the forefront of the market when tendering for heritage work in the future.

“[The Stone] Heritage Register is sounding like a great proposition.  If you’re in the industry and you practice what you preach, get on it.” - Member at launch event.






Members' News

Stone Federation are a member of EuroRoc, an organisation made up of the various European Federations for the dimensional stone industry.  The aim of the group is to coordinate questions of common interest and find solutions while promoting the use of dimensional natural stone.


The Federation's EuroRoc representative, Michael Poultney of Albion Stone along with Peter Harrison of Harrison Goldman, attended the latest meeting held at the Verona Stone Show in October.


There were a range of topics discussed, but shown are four discussions points that will be of particular interest to members.


1. Ethical Sourcing - There are various different degrees of controls of ethical sourcing across Europe and some is at a very local level.  It was accepted that the EU should be encouraging stones from ethical sources but there was some scepticism that a system with a high degree of certainty could be found in the short term.  It was agreed that the starting point should be to pool all the experiences from the differing methods currently being used by different, Countries, companies and organisations.

2. Geographical Protection - There was considerable support from across the EU and the robust comments from the UK were considered positive.  It is back with the European Parliament on what could be a long journey to possible implementation.  

3. Reporting Figures - There was concerns that the code numbers used for reporting production, imports and exports are not recording the dimensional stone figure accurately.  It was suggested that these should be related to the harmonised Product Standards (BS EN). Michael Poultney has been in dialogue with BGS and Eric Bignell at the Natural Stone Specialist magazine about the topic earlier in the month. Euroroc will progress the matter with the relevant authorities.

4. Silica Dust - There was a mixed response about the danger of the implementation of the dust regulations and the prospects of reducing the code.  It was agreed that the experiences from the implementation from national authorities will be requested.


With the island of Portland, from which the famous Portland limestone comes, being just off the Dorset coast from Weymouth, there could not have been a more appropriate material to use for a sculpture of the Olympic rings that has now been installed in the town that is hosting the Olympic sailing events. 

Burlington Stone has acquired the rights to quarry at Petts Quarry on Kirkstone Pass and Brathay Quarry near Ambleside following the regrettable demise of Kirkstone Quarries Ltd.

This new monument, costing £5 million, will commemorate the 55, 573 crew members of the RAF's Bobmer Command who were killed between 1939 and 1945.  The average age of those who lost their lives was just 22.

Albion Stone has recently purchased a new ‘JCB Fantini’, tractor mounted stone saw which will be used to increase efficiency in the Quarry & Mine.  This is the first machine of its type to be imported into any UK stone extraction operation. 


TV presenter, journalist and former conservative politician and Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo made a fascinating tour of local natural stone producer, Burlington Stone of Kirkby-in-Furness, shown on 26th January on BBC2 at 6.30pm, as part of series three of the BBC’s popular travel documentary, Great British Railway Journeys.


A £500,000 investment into an innovative new roof for Albion Stone’s Factory is set to save thousands of pounds a year on their electricity bills.

Albion Stone supplied over 3m³ of Jordans Basebed and Jordans Whitbed in the form of treads risers, paving and memorial stones.

Taking centre stage on The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want! at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May the company utilised its own indigenous natural Yorkstone block to create two striking central features in this amazing organic playground.