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Historical Uses Of Stone

Posted on by J Radford Group


While the buildings in our towns, cities and villages are all built from a variety of materials, older buildings will no doubt be made from some form of stone. If you look around you in any area you will see intricate and decorative stonework which has been specially crafted. Stone has a long and varied history, with many people conjuring the image of man inventing the wheel with stone.

Local Stone

The fact that so many towns and villages have stone crafted buildings with local stone and rock is no surprise, since such a heavy material could not be easily transported when it was first quarried. Once networks were established over time however, there were options to use more exotic stone. Steadily, the stonework in our towns has become global, with materials coming from as far away as China.

Even the monolithic Stonehenge arrangement was created from rock thought to have originated in the South West of Wales, showing that despite its age, it was clearly important for people to transport quality rock around the country.

Purposes of Stone

Stone was used – and it still used by many – for a variety of purposes, including paving, walling and general architecture. Where the stone has been worked it is traditionally called masonry, a popular occupation once upon a time, but a skill and art form which is underappreciated today in society. Buildings and masonry work is still visible today due to the fact it lasts a long time when looked after.

Many of these stone built structures, such as cathedrals and gothic mansions, have been protected as listed buildings and as part of World Heritage sites. All around the world there is a concerted effort to try and preserve and maintain the beautiful rock and stone structures. The Practical Building Conservation series has a dedicated book on stone and looks at the many uses of stone, why it was used and how it can be maintained by those in the industry.

Stone Masonry Work

One of the problems we face nowadays in the upkeep of stone masonry work is that the original materials might not be available. The colour, the texture and even the mineralogy are important to keep a protected structure or building as close to the original as possible when it requires refurbishment.

The gradual decline of stone as a building material was started when cement came to the fore and is compounded by a lack of the original skills and materials. Cement can be easily transported, mixed and laid, with moulding possible unlike with the time-consuming craft of masonry where large amounts of heavy stone would have to be taken from the ground and chiseled into shape.

At J Radford Group we know how important it is to preserve the beautiful masonry work which we find in our towns and cities, which is why we offer building conservation services to help you keep your stonework in prime condition – from stone cleaning to graffiti removal, we’re on hand to help. Simply contact us today for more information or to discuss your conservation requirements.

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