News

News

30 Jan 2012

BBC’S Great British Railway Crew Pulls Into Burlington Stone


 

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.

Centering on the long journey from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to the Isle of Man, the programme called into Burlington to explore cartographer, George Bradshaw’s reference to Kirkby ‘Roundheads’ within his Victorian guide of 1840, the Railway Companion.

In addition to it being a name given to local residents born in the Parish of Kirkby Ireleth, ‘Roundheads’ is the traditional practice of rounding off the top of roofing slates. So who better to provide a demonstration of the technique than highly-skilled rivers at Burlington? As well as being the UK’s leading producer of natural slate roofing, the company was formed at the time Bradshaw published his guide, which was the first comprehensive timetable and travel guide of the railway system in Great Britain.



Following a visit to Burlington’s blue/grey Kirkby quarry and clog bank, Michael Portillo paid a visit to Burlington’s blue-grey roofing production shed where roofing charge hand, John Earl of Broughton-in-Furness was on hand to show Michael Portillo how to create a ‘Roundhead’ through a technique known as ‘dressing.’ Undeterred by the process, and armed with whittle and brake, the tools required to dress a slate, the popular TV producer gained first hand experience of what is a time-honoured tradition within the slate industry.

As Burlington Stone’s Managing Director, Rob Irwin commented: “Despite the process being far more difficult than it looks, Michael did a brilliant job of dressing his first blue/grey slate and he appeared to be extremely engrossed not just in the subject of ‘Roundheads’, but Burlington and slate quarrying as a whole. Burlington has a long history and heritage that coincides with the period covered by the series, so it was a pleasure to welcome him and his team to the quarry at Kirkby,” he added.

If you missed this fantastic insight into Burlington Stone’s past and present or just want to watch it again, it is now available through the BBC i-Player using the link below: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01bfdcv/

 

                       

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.

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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.