About this Project
Over the years since my geology degree ( at the end of the 1960s ! ) I have harboured an idea to help all types of geologists (Students of all ages, Professional and Amateurs) to enjoy the rich selection of rock types and fossils and structures to be seen in central London on buildings and pavements, etc.
This website is the first stage of my project. The next phase as funding becomes available will be the free Android and Apple Apps to accompany this website to make the experience a truly interactive one for all geologists.
I welcome all constructive comments and ideas to further my goal, purely for the benefit of the geological community. This wonderful science has given me a great career in Oil & Gas, although only the first few years were directly geological in nature !
This is my way of trying to give back something to the geological community, a thank you.
About the Data
The building stone data compiled here has been supplied by Ruth Siddall and she takes all responsibility for any mistakes or inaccuracies. All sites have been visited, recorded and photographed by Ruth. Additional sites submitted by others are ground-truthed and approved as appropriate.
Although there are many varieties of rock on our planet, no two are the same and a restricted number are worked for dimension and decorative stone. Many stones are instantly recognisable with a little experience; Portland Stone, the varieties of Norwegian larvikite, Finnish Baltic Brown and Aberdeenshire’s Peterhead Granite spring to mind. However the identification of less common building stones relies on experience, scientific, archaeological and architectural research and connoisseurship. It is not infallible and there is always the opportunity to learn more. However, the identifications given in this website are supported by a high degree of confidence.
For some buildings, information on the stones used has been gleaned from various published sources (which are all listed in the Further Reading section of this website). In addition, Ruth is grateful for information supplied to herself and to Eric Robinson, by architects and stone contractors for many late 20th and 21st Century buildings. Some of this information can be found on the relevant firms’ websites, but this has also been supplied through personal correspondence. Also essential in the identification of unfamiliar stones is the use of building stone collections, both in museums and on line. Nevertheless, whilst there are good databases of UK and European stones and quarries, it is much harder to identify more exotic stones from places such as Brazil, South Africa, China and many other corners of the globe. Building stone databases designed for the industry are very useful here, but often give only trade names and broad provenances and data needs to be further authenticated via the academic literature and geological maps.
The structure of this website, compiled with the intention to keep the data simple, does not allow for a thorough discussion of the range of possibilities for the identifications of a certain stone. Sometimes the most likely name and origin is given here, or a generic term, such as ‘Cornish Granite’ is supplied. If you wish to know more about a stone and the reasons for a particular identification on a specific building, please do contact Ruth via this website and she will provide you with more detail and reference lists.
Please do contact us if you spot a mistake and we will do our best to check it out and correct it.