Working to

  1. encourage greater public interest in and awareness of the stone built heritage of England and the threats it faces

  2. encourage the use of English stone for the public benefit and to

  3. ensure the availability of the stone required for the maintenance of the built heritage and new build

The English Stone Forum consists of representatives of nine organisations:

British Geological Survey,

Building Research Establishment,

Historic England,

Institute of Historic Building Conservation,

Heritage Lottery Fund,

National Stone Centre,

Stone Federation Great Britain, 

Stone Roofing Association,

Mineral Products Association.

It is chaired by Terry Hughes of the Stone Roofing Association.  Alison Henry of Historic England is the secretary.

English Stone Forum on Wikipedia

You can support the English Stone Forum by linking to this site from your own. Use http://www.englishstone.org.uk

Enquiries about building stones should be emailed to the secretary. They will be passed to an appropriate member.

Why use building stone?

Stone has been used for building and roofing for many hundreds of years. Many of our historic stone buildings are protected by legislation to help ensure their survival, but they all deteriorate with age and erosion by the elements. It is important that these valuable cultural assets are repaired and maintained, and adequate supplies of suitable stone are essential. 

Stone for repair and maintenance must be compatible with the original for technical reasons – the wrong stone can hasten future damage - and for aesthetic reasons – the wrong stone may harm the appearance of the structure. Therefore it is essential to secure stone from either the original source or a closely similar source. To do that we need to know where particular building or roofing stones were originally worked and be able to obtain planning permission to extract more stone when required. 

Stone is also vital for new buildings. Many conservation areas include stone buildings and new development in these areas should be compatible, and so a supply of similar stone for construction is required. Even where there are no historic stone buildings the aesthetic appeal of new development can be greatly enhanced by the use of stone both externally and internally. Working stone for new buildings also helps to make quarrying operations economically viable in the periods between the sporadic contracts to supply stone for conservation. 

Why use English building stone?

Many buildings in England were constructed using locally quarried stone because it was difficult and costly to haul materials for long distances. Other buildings used stone from good sources further away, such as Portland Stone and sandstones from Yorkshire, transported by sea, canals and later railways. Stone from Scotland, Wales and France has also been used in England. Ideally, supplies of all these stones should be safeguarded so that authentic material is available, whatever its origin. 

Because of both the importance of using compatible materials for repair of historic buildings, and the need to construct attractive new buildings that maintain local and regional distinctiveness, it is vital that adequate supplies of English stone remain available. A vigorous English stone industry is essential for maintaining our national heritage and the character and appearance of our cities, towns and villages...Why use local stone.pdf pdf presentation 1.2Mb) 

Where to get information on -

  1. The use of stone in buildings, sources of English building stones and codes of practice for building stone use?

  2. Stone Federation Great Britain. Channel Business Centre, Ingles Manor, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2RD Tel +44 (0) 1303 856123 Fax +44 (0) 1303 221095 email

  1. The geology of English building stones?

  2. British Geological Survey, Central Enquiries Desk, British Geological Survey, Kingsley Dunham Centre, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG.  Tel +44 (0)115-936-3143 Fax +44 (0)115-936-3276 email

  1. Sources of UK roofing slates and stones and the use of slate and stone for roofing?

  2. Stone Roofing Association, Ceunant, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 4SA Tel +44 (0) 1286 650 402 email

  1. Technical properties of building stone and the investigation of building stone problems and failures?

  2. Building Research Establishment Bucknalls Lane, Watford WD25 9XX  Tel +44 (0) 1923 664000 email or UKAS (the publications page has a list of laboratories) Tel +44 (0) 20 8917 8400 Fax +44 (0) 20 8917 8500

  3. Codes of practice for building stone use?

  4. British Standards Institution, 389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL  Tel  +44 (0) 20 8996 9000 Fax:  +44 (0) 20 8996 7001 email

  5. Conserving geological sites, materials from them, and other rocks, minerals and fossils?

  6. Geoconservation Commission, The Secretary, GeoConservation Commission, Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1V 0JU email

  7. Training and courses?

  8. Here and at the Construction Industry Training Board, Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH +44 (0) 1485 577577 email

The views of the English Stone Forum (ESF) are given, from time to time, in press announcements and presentations that have been agreed by the members. Other material on the ESF website that comes from other sources, and links to other websites, are provided in good faith to be helpful to all who are interested in English stone. The ESF is not responsible for the accuracy of such material, or for any problems encountered when visiting linked websites. It should be noted, in particular, that names and descriptions of stone accord with traditional geological and trade practices and do not necessarily comply with the most recent European stone labelling regulations. For example, “Purbeck Marble” now has to be referred to, in trade terms, as “Purbeck Limestone” under regulations that came into force in 2006. Failure to comply in trade is likely to result in heavy fines.


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