22 May 2008

Marshalls Plc at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2008

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.

The first was a magnificent 28 metre long snake that wound its way through the garden. The second was a 35 tonne natural rock stack ideal for children to scramble over and incorporating a secret den inside.

The block was extracted from its UK quarry operations in Derbyshire and was selected to help keep the overall carbon footprint of the space to a minimum. The garden received a Silver Medal from the RHS.  


Head 1.2 metres (including hidden base) lowering to 0.35 metres along the body

28 metres (uncoiled)

Approximately 25 tonnes

Marshalls UK Sandstone

Sculpture Time:
Four Months

 The snake has been inspired from the children?s ideas generated at the Marshalls Chelsea Project Workshops. Many of the drawings from these sessions had a connection with animals and fantastical creatures. Ian Dexter has translated these to create a one mythical like monster snake which dominates the garden's entrance to the wonderland beyond. 

Michael Disley has had a long and lasting relationship with Marshalls. His outdoor studio has been situated in the company's West Yorkshire Appleton Quarry for several years and is a more than natural place to call home for this renowned stone artist. Many of his pieces are site specific, humorous & easily understood. His work can be found all over the UK, as well as Zimbabwe and Japan to name a few. This new commission has been a slight departure away from this work with its mesmeric and intimidating presence.


2.2 metres

3 metres x 3.5 metres

Approximately 35 tonnes

Marshalls UK Sandstone

Construction Time:
Three Months

The Rock Stack was developed from several ideas to promote energetic play. It can be entered from the front or side via a secret tunnel under a meadow turf mound. It is the ideal feature to climb and scramble over in creative play. A hidden underground stream also cascades down one side to feed a shallow pool. 

Designed & Built by:
Ian Dexter was instrumental in designing this organic climbing frame for the garden. It was then constructed by Michael Fairly, a rock structure specialist, who handpicked the boulders especially for the feature from a Marshalls UK Quarry. Hidden mortar joints cut in to the stone stabilise the stack for rigorous play.

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.