28 Feb 2012

Portland Stone selected for Bomber Command Memorial

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.

Bomber Command had the task of attacking German military targets and industries connected to the NAZI war effort during the Second World War. Despite their appalling losses, the airmen of Bomber Command were never given a campaign medal for their vital contribution to victory.

The memorial, which is due to be completed in 2012 ahead of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, has been designed by Architect Liam O'Connor, who is best known for the Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire.

The memorial will be built to be modern, yet classical, in Portland Stone. At its heart will be the bronze sculptures of the aircrew. Within the memorial, the space is open to the sky with an opening designed to allow light to fall directly onto the aircrew.  The sculpture will be set on a 1.5 metre black basalt plinth. The height of the plinth and the scale of the sculpture as a whole means that visitors will always see the profile of the figure against the sky above them, day and night - thus rendering that section of the sky powerfully symbolic for the memorial.

The foundation stone for the memorial was laid in Green Park, London on 4th May 2011

Bomber Command veterans were joined at the foundation stone-laying ceremony by the Duke of Gloucester and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham, himself a wartime Lancaster pilot and the President of the Bomber Command Association.  To mark the occasion a service was conducted by the Venerable (Air Vice-Marshal) Ray Pentland, Chaplain-in-Chief of the RAF, andincluded a reading by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.  The service ended with a spectacular flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster bomber aircraft.

Although work has started on the national memorial, a further £1.5 million will be needed for the upkeep of the monument in perpetuity.  A gala dinner was held on 8th November 2011 and was hoping to go a long way to finishing off the fund-raising.  The highlight of the evening was the chance to bid for a flight on one of the last remaining Lancaster bombers. The successful bidder and a friend will be taken to Canada, where they will be treated to a flight in one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world. The other belongs to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby, Lincs.

Albion Stone are supplying 360m³ of Portland Jordans Basebed & Portland Jordans Whitbed stones.

This project involved quarrying and mining some of the largest stones ever extracted from Portland. Some of the slabs reach sizes of 2.87m x 1.106m. Albion Stone was selected for its ability to provide large blocks of a consistent high quality.  The stonework contractor is S McConnell and Sons, who have used their stone expertise to create an impressive portfolio of showpieces around the world.

Members' News

Stone Federation would like to congratulate former Stone Federation President, Peter Harrison for being the recipient of the stone industry's highest award, the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal.

Peter was presented with his medal by the Duke of Gloucester himself at Worshipful Company of Masons' Master's Banquet in London's Mansion House.

The Medal, which was introduced in 2010, is awarded every two years, to honour an individual in the craft of stonemasonry or the natural stone industry whose work is of considerable merit and who is acknowledged by his or her peers for the excellence of their contribution.

The idea for recognition for those in stonemasonry was originally mooted in the 1980s when it was noted that stonemasonry did not have any kind of recognition or a supreme accolade.


His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who trained as an architect and has an affinity for stonemasonry, also felt that some form of recognition should be created and was instrumental in developing the concept of a recognition for stonemasonry befitting the millennia-old craft.

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.