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.


Natural Stone Institute

Issue No. 3 Spring 2002

Launch of the NSI

The inaugural meeting of the Natural Stone Institute was held in Stirling Castle on the 19th September 2001 with the main speaker being Professor Gordon Benson, architect of the new Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Some 70 people attended the meeting.

The story behind the building

With the aid of slides, Professor Benson detailed the development of the project and described the manner in which architects approach design, in particular he addressed how architects approach design in stone.

Pointers for NSI development

Some key points were raised that indicate important action areas for the NSI:

Other speakers

Mr Andrew McMillan, Convener of the NSI Project Team, and Mr Dennis Urquhart, Director of the SSLG, outlined the strategy for the future development of the NSI. In the first instance, development will be taken forward by a number of Working Groups reporting to a Steering Group. For more information, see below.

Development structure of the NSI

The NSI is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors that currently mirrors the Board of the SSLG but it is recognised that this could change as the NSI develops.

Steering Group

A meeting of the NSI Steering Group was held in the offices of the British Geological Survey on the 23rd October when the following Working Groups were established. The names of the Conveners are in brackets.

Working Groups

Publications - (Ms Audrey Dakin). As the name suggests this Group will be the “clearing house” for all NSI publications.

Education - (Mrs Pat Gibbons). The scope of this Group is very wide dealing as it does with all aspects from primary schools to serious academics. Already a submission, entitled “Developing understanding of Scotland’s Stone Built Heritage through effective education”, has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Fundraising - (Mr Dennis Urquhart). With the NSI initially being supported by the SSLG, both in terms of staffing and finance, it is essential that the Group explores and secures external financial support. Whilst Membership income could be significant it is envisaged that the financial needs of the NSI will require a more substantial base.

Research - (Dr Maureen Young). Building on the current levels of knowledge this Group will seek to identify areas of research requirement and establish international contacts.

Events/Publicity - (Mr Alan McKinney). This Group has progressed the organisational structure papers and these will be presented to the Annual General Meeting in September for consideration/amendment.

The Conveners, having been advised as to the areas of interest of those who attended the NSI Launch, will develop these working areas and report progress to the Annual General Meeting.

The NSI Steering Group will meet again on the 25th April.

Report on promotional activities

COSLA Conference

The SSLG/NSI had a display stand at the COSLA Conference in Crieff on 20th - 22nd March. This provided the opportunity to make contact with Councillors, Chief Executives and other council officials.

Stone in Wales

Andrew McMillan, Convener of the NSI, will be attending the “Stone in Wales” conference that is being held in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on 2nd - 5th April.

Historic Buildings Council for Scotland

The 2000/2001 Annual Report of the HBC for Scotland (pages 10 /11) stressed that the “shortage of Scottish slates continued to be a major concern”. The Council also supported the creation of the SSLG to “[bring] together all those with an interest is reviving the Scottish stone industry”.



The main theme of NSI AGM will be the “Innovative Use of Stone”. Further information regarding the AGM, date, time and place, will be issued in due course but the meeting will be held in September. All those on the current Newsletter mailing list will receive an invitation to attend the AGM.

A Business Meeting will be held to enable the NSI to develop from the current Steering Group operation to a more formal structure with elected office bearers pursuing the directions of the Membership of the Institute.

Stone supply for the architect Seminar series

The relationship between the architect and the production quarry is being probed in a series of Seminars planned for this autumn/winter.