As we celebrate becoming the sole worldwide supplier of Clipsham limestone, here’s a nostalgic look back at the history of quarrying on the famous Lincolnshire limestone belt.
Our recent acquisition of the Clipsham Quarry means we’re now the sole supplier of Clipsham limestone worldwide – guaranteeing Stamford Stone’s limestone reserves for many years to come.
So, what better time to take a look back at the history of Clipsham limestone quarrying through the ages, to see how far we’ve come?
There were quarries in the Clipsham area as far back as Roman times, when Clipsham stone was used to build parts of the Great North Road, which largely followed the route of the modern day A1.
Clipsham limestone was also transported to London in both Roman and Medieval times for construction purposes – and a study in the 1960s confirmed that the historic London Stone (which has been dated to around 1100) came from Clipsham.
In the mid-1300s, stone from quarries at Clipsham was used in the construction of Windsor Castle.
The restoration game
Fast forward to the 1920s and 1930s, and hard-wearing Clipsham limestone was very much in demand. It was used for important restoration work in several Oxford colleges and many British cathedrals – including Peterborough, York Minster, Canterbury and Salisbury.
And perhaps most notably, Clipsham limestone was chosen for a huge restoration project in London at the Palace of Westminster and the House of Commons. The Anston limestone from Yorkshire used in the original construction simply hadn’t stood up to the test of time – partly due to acid corrosion from London’s high smoke pollution levels, and also thanks to significant World War 2 bombing during the Blitz.
Clipsham limestone is similar in colour to the original Anston stone, but much more hard-wearing – so it can better withstand the onslaught of London’s continuing pollution problems. Today, much of the ornamental front of the Houses of Parliament consists of limestone from quarries at Clipsham.
Still going strong
Over 90 years have passed since Clipsham stone became established as the limestone of choice for the renovation of some of our country’s finest architectural gems – and today, Clipsham limestone is still just as much in demand for restoration work and new construction projects alike.
It goes without saying that the equipment and machinery has come on in leaps and bounds since those early days of quarrying at Clipsham. In particular, Stamford Stone’s ongoing investment in state-of-the-art cutting equipment makes Clipsham limestone much easier to lay. And our expert sawing and cropping techniques mean we can now create an even wider range of internal and external stone products – including ashlar cladding stones, a lightweight alternative to constructional stone.
Environment and sustainability
Quarrying naturally has a disruptive effect on the landscape and Stamford Stone take this responsibility very seriously. That’s why we have detailed sustainability and restoration plans in place for all our quarries – underpinned by the Stamford Stone Charter, which sets out how we work.
Historical information sourced from: www.stonespecialist.com