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English limestone is an exquisite, natural material and one which is extremely versatile in how it can be used. It adorns many prestigious buildings across the globe and is a much sought-after material. Predominantly it is specified for construction; on buildings of all sizes and ages, commercial and domestic, for architectural masonry, conservation work, new builds, walling and patios. Whatever use it’s put to; you can be assured that aesthetically English limestone will always look a million dollars and will continue to do so for centuries to come.
The uses of this ultra-versatile sedimentary rock extend so much further than the construction industry. Carved and cut stone creates stunning internal flooring and walling tiles, fireplace surrounds and stairways. And there are also other, less obvious forms of use including cement (in powder form), as aggregate, and as a whitening pigment or filler in paint products and toothpaste! Naturally quarried agricultural lime (a by-product of quarrying limestone) is also used by farmers to improve their land by reducing soil acidity!
Where is limestone quarried?
English limestone is quarried all over the UK. Notable locations are Portland, Bath, Purbeck, the Cotswolds and Lincolnshire. The characteristics of limestone vary enormously as each quarry bed has its own colour, texture and properties. So regional variations often dictate the different types of use the quarried stone is specified for.
This white/grey stone has been used extensively on buildings in London. It was specified to build St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.
Bath stone, well known for its distinctive warm, honey colouring, has been used to create many of the buildings in the city. It is a firm favourite of stonemasons as it is a ‘freestone’ which means it can be sawn or squared up in any direction making it is easy to work with.
This Dorset stone has been quarried since Roman times and varies considerably as it has developed in various beds ranging in colour and density. One of the most well-known limestones from this region is the dark coloured Purbeck Marble, often used for its decoratively quality in churches and cathedrals.
Two prominent quarry sites in Lincolnshire supply their natural stone throughout the UK and right across the globe. Stamford Stone owns and operates two local quarries on the county’s famous Oolitic belt, Clipsham Medwells and Clipsham Bidwells Quarries. Stone from these sites has been used on many prestigious buildings including Windsor Castle, The Palace of Westminster, Jesus College, Cambridge, Worcester College and the award-winning Nazrin Shah Centre in Oxford.
English limestone restoration
Limestone was a very popular building material during the 19th and 20th centuries. And it was the norm at this time to use limestone to build large public buildings such as train stations and banks. Throughout the 1900s limestone was specified for repairs on the Grade I listed Palace of Westminster. It was important to repair the Palace using a stone that best matched the original Anston limestone and one which would be resistant to the high pollution rates in the capital.
Today, natural limestone is considered to be the ultimate green building material for construction and restoration works. Much of the ornamental front of the Houses of Parliament consists of Clipsham limestone. And the development of 3D technology allows specialist design teams to scan historical buildings with ease and recreate any design in stone, no matter how complex.
Limestone controls sound and insulates against fluctuating temperatures and requires minimal maintenance. Put simply, it ticks all the sustainability and environmentally friendly boxes, making it as popular today as a building material as it has always been.
English limestone also makes fabulous walling; it can be sawn, cropped or tumbled, creating stunning boundaries that last lifetimes.
The durability and resilience of natural stone paving slabs make them a perfect choice for exterior stone paving projects. In addition to the practical benefits, natural stone is unique; no two tiles, slabs or flagstones are the same as the subtle fossil markings vary on every piece. So you know your stone patio will be totally bespoke!
Internally, English limestone tiles make superbly practical flooring and wall tiles. Stone flooring not only looks stunning but is also extremely hard wearing and easy to keep clean. It’s a brilliant choice for households with allergy sufferers in their midst.
Fireplaces and stairwells
Name/date stones and monuments
English limestone is also widely used to create memorable name and date stones and monuments, each offering a sense of permanency and significance to a building or an area.
There are so many uses for English limestone; however, in all its guises, this sedimentary rock has significantly shaped our landscape for centuries and will continue to do so for many more to come.
Choosing Stamford Stone at Home
You can also check out our new designer tiling range which works beautifully with our natural stone. Alternatively, contact us for more information or to book a visit to our showroom.