Mission Statement

The aim of the Scottish Stone Liaison Group is to enhance availability, promote utilisation and advance knowledge and skills in design, specification and use of indigenous Scottish stone in existing and new build projects.

NEWSLETTER

Stone Industry Project

Issue No. 9 Winter 2004

Skills, knowledge, responsibilities

Those charged with the safekeeping of Scotland’s built environment shoulder a heavy responsibility and history alone will ultimately determine if they have done a good or bad job.

Whilst the above has forever been true, the talk by Christopher Downs, consultant architect to Durham Cathedral who addressed the Stone Federation GB entitled Stone in the City lecture, only served to underline this responsibility.

With some stone in the Cathedral having weathered badly, his predecessors (circa 1777) had resolved that appropriate action was to cut back all the good stone to the depth of that which had decayed. The result was that up to 75mm was removed from all faces of the Cathedral and this took forty men some eight years to complete at a cost of ,187.

One saving grace, given the time in which we live, is that were a similar action proposed then the cost would immediately rule it out as would the refacing undertaken during the period 1827-50. This resulted in the complete replacement of the stones forming the outer face of the wall, that is ALL stones were replaced, effectively the good, the bad and the indifferent stones.

In addition, the desire to use modern materials, fixing every known problem, was just as prevalent then as it is now:

So as history judges the efforts of the decision makers in retrospect, just as it has always done, the actions of those now making decisions will be judged by future generations.

How it will judge a Scottish local authority that permitted the use of reconstituted stone, or another the use of “artificial slates or tiles”, in a conservation areas one can only speculate. (for details of that travesty see Newsletter No.8).

How they will judge this generation for allowing these decision makers to get away with such decisions, is a burden we will all have to bear.