5 May 2017

2017 Natural Stone Show Review

The end of April saw hundreds of natural stone industry firms gather at London’s ExCel for the 2017 Natural Stone Show.  The event is the UK’s only natural stone focussed trade show and attracts thousands of architects, designers, specifiers, contractors and natural stone firms.

The Federation joined with over 25 member firms to make up The Stone Village which was right at the heart of the show and provided a focal point for show delegates.


The Architect’s Day, on day one at the show, saw over 120 architects from across Europe gather for a day of talks, networking and a tour of the show.  The Federation sponsored the welcome breakfast which was hosted in one of ExCel’s upper rooms, overlooking the Thames.  This provided a fantastic backdrop for the breakfast and the networking that took place.  We also sponsored the afternoon refreshments which were hosted on the Natural Stone Awards Gallery, giving the architects a chance to take look at the fantastic Award winning projects and connect with some of the firms behind them.


The second day of the show was hosted by Stone Federation and involved a range of seminars looking at some of the industry’s hot topics including swimming pools, ethical sourcing and selecting the correct stone.  The second day also saw the addition of a new range of project profile sessions focussed around some of the projects from the Natural Stone Awards.  British stone, interiors and landscaping were the three sectors the sessions focussed around and the panels were made up by some of the industry’s leading architects.  The day concluded with a networking event for members and show visitors sponsored by member firm, Mega Marble.  This provide a great chance for exhibitors and delegates to connect over a glass of wine and some fantastic views of the city.


The Stone Show also played host to the launch of the 2017/18 Natural Stone Source Book: A Specifiers’ Guide, the Federation’s flagship publication.  The Source Book, along with the Natural Stone Awards Souvenir Brochure was distributed to hundreds of architects, designers and specifiers at the event. 

The show provided a great opportunity to promote both the Federation and our members to the wider architectural and design industries and it was encouraging to hear about the amount of strong leads that members left the show with.

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.