8 Jun 2021

UK's Favourite Natural Stone Project Winner Announced

Stone Federation are delighted to announce that Pier Head, Liverpool has won the ‘UK’s Favourite Natural Stone Project’ vote run by the Federation.


The ‘people’s choice’ vote was part of the 20th Natural Stone Awards celebrations are sought to showcase the significant part that natural stone plays in defining the architectural identity of towns and cities across the United Kingdom.


The shortlisted projects were drawn up by a long list created from nominations by Stone Federation members and included natural stone projects from across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.  Castles, cathedrals, modern office developments, Government buildings and public realm spaces were all featured in the shortlist.


The public vote engaged 100s from within the architectural and construction sectors, and 33% of the votes, Liverpool’s Pier Head Canal Link project was chosen as the winner.

The project was the winner of the Landscape category at the 2010 Natural Stone Awards and involved the extension of the Leeds Liverpool Canal into the heart of Liverpool with a reconfiguration of the Pier Head to form a truly world-class space worthy of its historic location at the heart of this World Heritage Site.


Delivered for Liverpool City Council by EDAW Landscape Architects, the project’s main contractor and principal stone contractor was Balfour Beatty with input from TT Groundworks, Stone Central (NW) Ltd and Marshalls PLC who also supplied the natural stone.


Over 7,000m² of mid-grey varied tone granite paving was used to create space along with 22 unique granite seats which weighed up to 1,500kg.


Stone Federation’s Chief Executive, Jane Buxey said,


“It is fantastic to see a scheme such as this recognised in this way.  The aim of this vote was to give people a chance to celebrate their favourite natural stone project and to showcase the wonderful examples of excellence in stone we see across the United Kingdom.


It is testament to the durability and longevity of this beautiful, natural material that a project delivered in 2009 is still capturing the public’s interest and admiration over a decade later.  It is this longevity that is part of what makes natural stone such a sustainable material choice.”


Dave Stanger, Minerals Trading Director at Marshalls said,


“We are thrilled to learn that the Pier Head has been voted as the UK Favourite natural stone project’. Such an enormous amount of work, detailing and collaboration went into the design, engineering, delivery and installation of this project; and for it to be recognised some 10 years later is just fantastic. From the engineering of the material designs to the physical inspection in China and through to the engagement on-site with Balfour Beatty in particular, this is a personal favourite and one that both I and all those involved I am sure will cherish for many years to come. To play a part in the changing face of an iconic landmark such as the Pier Head and for it still to be winning awards a decade later is incredible. Congratulations to all those involved at every stage!”

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.