Practical Building Conservation

Since the original series of Practical Building Conservation appeared in 1988, it has become a standard reference for those caring for historic buildings large and small: essential reading for architects, surveyors and building managers, as well as conservators. Ashgate Publishing and English Heritage are now publishing an update to this seminal series. The new series has not only been updated to cover the latest techniques and materials, but has been greatly expanded and copiously illustrated. They look in detail at building materials ranging from the ancient to the modern, and are studded throughout with practical advice.

The ten volumes are available from Routledge

Conservation Basics

Building Environment





Mortars, renders and plasters

Glass and glazing


Earth, brick and terracotta

Town trails and bibliography of building and roofing stones

Find information about your local stones using the author or county lists

Hereford City Centre Trail

A town trail for the City of Hereford which describes buildings from Mediaeval to fairly modern times including the glorious Cathedral.

McCall J. 2011 English Stone Forum 21pp Hereford Town.pdf

Conservation books and articles

Natural Stone Directory

Natural Stone Directory includes more than 2,000 entries covering natural stone quarries, wholesalers, stonemasons, equipment and service suppliers, and industry related organizations.

Natural Stone Specialist

Natural Stone Specialist is the UK’s only magazine dedicated to the natural stone industry. Published monthly, each issue features some of the most interesting projects in stone, both new build and conservation, including the views of architects and designers, clients, and the masonry companies involved.

Journal of Architectural Conservation

Journal of Architectural Conservation Published three times a year, the international journal for historic buildings, monuments and places offers a valuable resource on:

Building types Building materials and their conservation 

Recent case studies 

Developments in specific construction techniques 

Research results from key investigations

Past copies

Building Conservation Directory

The largest and most comprehensive source of information in the UK that is designed to meet the needs of historic buildings.

Links to stone articles

Air/Water Abrasive Cleaning of Stone and Brickwork - Nicola Ashurst 

Building stones of the United Kingdom - Frank Dimes

Cobbles, Setts and Historic Townscape - Colin Davis

Exterior Masonry Cleaning - Chris Daniels

Flint and the Conservation of Flint Buildings - John Ashurst and Gerry Williams

New Stone for Old - Jamie Vans

Portland Stone Facades - Catherine Woolfitt

Poultices - Catherine Woolfitt

Recent Developments in Laser Cleaning - Martin Cooper

Rock of Ages - Ewan Hyslop, Graham Lott

The Sands of Time: Britain's Building Sandstones - Graham Lott

Sandstone Conservation and Repair - Jamie Coath

The Search for Stone - Graham Lott

Shining Stones - Graham Lott and David Smith (pdf)

Solid-wall Construction: Measuring and Improving Thermal Performance - Tim Yates

Soluble Salts in Masonry - Catherine Woolfitt

Sourcing Stone for Building Conservation - Terry Hughes

Stone Cleaning - Ingval Maxwell

Stone Consolidation - Elizabeth Garrod

Stone Crosses - Ed Green

Stone Replacement - Malcolm Coulson

Sundials - Christopher Daniel

Thermal Imaging in the Investigation of Solid Masonry Structures - Maureen Young

What Lies Beneath - George Ballard 

Link to all BCD articles

English Heritage Research Transactions

The Transactions series is now out of print but is available from Oxbow or by an internet search.

Volume 9 Stone Roofing The geology, sources and use of sandstones and limestones for roofing in England can be seen and downloaded for screen reading or in print quality. It includes Saving England's stone slate roofs, Stone roofing in England and Sourcing new stone slates and re-roofing the nave of Pitchford church

EH Trans 9 Stone Roofing LR.pdf screen quality download

A print quality download is available here

Volume 2 Stone

Stone consolidants


Lime treatments

Lime method evaluation

Sacrificial graffiti barriers

Soft wall capping experiments

Conserving fractured and detaching stone tracery

Stone repair of a cracked column at the Wellington arch

ISBN 1-873936-97-4902916 32 8

Historic England slate and stone roofing films and other guides

These two short films demonstrating the slating of Collyweston amd Swithland slate roofs are part of Historic England's series of practical advice on maintenance and repair.

The Roofs Of England

Now out of print but can be viewed here (external link)

The extraordinary richness of England’s built heritage is a reminder of our ingenuity in response to our surroundings and their particular environmental and geographical characteristics. The roofs and walls of historic buildings are clues to the geology of the surrounding landscape, and demonstrate the skill by which the local population used available resources to provide shelter thereby developing the vernacular or traditional local buildings we now cherish. 

Horsham Stone Roofs - Updated August 2009

A guide to the two methods of stone roofing in Sussex and adjacent counties. Published by the Stone Roofing Association with the support of English Heritage. 

The 2009 edition has been revised and updated to include the latest experience of mortar used in the single lap system.

Free download here.

Glossary of Slate and Stone Roofing - Updated and enlarged 2016

Slate and stone roofing systems use.  This document defines the many specialist terms used for slate and stone roofs.  Download here.

Historic roofs in Britain and Ireland

Website with publications and videos of traditional slate and stone roofing.


Identifying and Sourcing Stone for Historic Building Repair

English Heritage 

Comprehensive guidance on assessing existing stone in historic buildings, the technical criteria for selecting replacement stone for repairs and obtaining supplies. Download from here

Historic England Strategic Stone Study county atlases 

Thirty one building stone atlases have been published.


England's Heritage in Stone

The English Stone Forum

Editors Peter Doyle, Terry Hughes, Ian Thomas 

The papers presented at the 2005 conference on England's stone built heritage covering the historic use of stone, conservation practice, supply of stone, and planning issues associated with the use of indigenous stone. Copies are available in the libraries of universities and colleges which run building conservation courses and in the British Library and the other legal deposit libraries (Bodleian Oxford, Cambridge University, Trinity College Dublin, National libraries of Wales and Scotland).

Selecting the Correct Stone

This Stone Federation Great Britain guide is based on relevant sections of a number of British Standards, Codes of Practice and trade documents. It sets out the current best practice for the selection of natural stone for larger cladding, flooring, paving and masonry projects. It considers the important issues relating to the interpretation of samples, the role of the quarry/mine/factory visit in the assessment of the stone selection and the relevant factors appropriate to the evaluation of the technical properties of the stone, and if necessary, to a successful testing regime. It aims to identify the common misunderstandings and is designed to help the specifier to make an informed selection of a suitable stone for their project.

Full text version

In Search of the Ideal Stone Match

Article by Steve Parry of BGS in Quarries and Mines page 45

Historic England. Building in Stone: Information for teachers PDF download


Technical publications

British Stone Federation advice from 1954 to 1964

Twenty-five facsimile bulletins on British stones and their use. 

If you're looking for up-to-date advice see Stone Federation GB publications or Stone standards and guidance

Stone Federation Great Britain

The Stone Federation publishes several books about stones and how to use them. A full list can be obtained from here (external link).

Guide to Best Practice on the Cleaning of Internal and External Masonry Surfaces

This new Stone Federation GB publication includes stone, brick, terracotta, concrete and faïence. It is currently being offered at a special introductory price of £30.00 (£15.00 for Stone Federation members) including postage and packing (postal charge for overseas).

Stone Slate Delphs

A guide to making a mineral planning application for a stone slate quarry or delph.

The Stone Roof Working Group's guide to making a mineral planning application for a small quarry or delph. Before you can open a quarry or delph you must obtain planning permission from the local council. This can appear to be more difficult than it really is, so don't be put off. Help and support are available from many organisations and if the various steps are approached methodically with a clear plan of action in mind you will find that the process is straightforward. 

This guide sets out the stages in preparing an application and where to go for help and advice. Every council will have a Local Plan that is intended to ensure that the market for stone products can be satisfied without unacceptable consequences. So if there is a demand for the products then the mineral planning process will normally support its supply. It applies equally to small building stone quarry applications. Published in 2010 it refers to planning permission procedures and documents which are out of date but still provides good advice on how to obtain permission.

It can be obtained from the Institute of Historic Building Conservation at admin@ihbc.org.uk free of charge or downloaded Delphs_32pp_WEB.pdf (pdf). Be sure to include your name, delivery address and phone number in the email.  IHBC, Jubilee House, High Street, Tisbury SP3 6HA. 01747 873133

Broadway marlstone