Yes, we all love a blazing bonfire with sparklers and fireworks – but the team at Stamford Stone now have another special reason to remember, remember the 5th of November 2018. That’s because it was the first time we’ve appeared on TV, with a 3-minute feature on BBC Look East’s popular evening news programme!
We knew it was coming, because the BBC Look East film crew had visited us a few days earlier to see what we do and how we do it. They spent time looking at the whole process from stone quarrying to cutting and finishing, which gave us a good excuse to show off our state-of-the-art cutting equipment.
A few of the Stamford Stone team stepped up to the challenge of becoming TV stars for the day, too – more about that later!
University Arms Hotel, Cambridge
The TV slot started with a mention of the recent re-opening of the University Arms Hotel in Cambridge after an ambitious 2-year makeover costing £80m. We were very proud to be involved in this high profile refurbishment project to restore a stylish Regency look to Cambridge’s oldest hotel, which dates back to 1834.
Clipsham limestone to the rescue!
Bath stone was originally specified by the architects for this project, but issues with supply and budgets created the ideal opportunity for Stamford Stone to propose an alternative. We won the contract to supply around 500 tonnes of locally sourced Clipsham limestone from our own quarries on the Lincolnshire limestone belt, in blocks weighing 5-10 tonnes.
Clipsham limestone offers a rich and varied tone, and great colour depth. Added to that, the tall bed height of our Medwells Quarry meant we could supply the component load-bearing stone for the iconic 3.5m limestone columns on the hotel’s façade in substantial metre-long sections.
Introducing our very own TV stars…
At Stamford Stone, we’re especially proud of our great workforce, and the BBC Look East visit gave some of them a chance to shine with their own ‘lights, camera, action’ moment.
Company Director Daniel Wilson started off with a bit about the history of Clipsham limestone. It has been used in building since the 14th century, most notably in the original construction of Windsor Castle – and more recently in refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament. Daniel also showed how limestone is formed in sedimentary layers, and explained that it needs to be laid in the same way when used in construction. This allows for maximum strength and frost resistance.
Next up, Quarry Manager Adrian Bell demonstrated the heavy machinery that’s used to extract the huge stone blocks from the ground. The blocks are initially cut and processed on site at the quarry, before being transported to our specialist production facility for further cutting and finishing.
Then Tony James, one of our specialist sawyers, was introduced as the ‘good guy in charge of a James Bond baddie-style circular saw’. He talked passionately about his love of working with stone, and how no two days – or projects – are the same.
And last, but by no means least, Stonemason Matthew Bradford explained the intricate work involved in carving limestone, and he should know – he’s been doing the job he loves for over 35 years!
And finally… a bit about the A14
At the end of the feature, the presenter highlights that nothing goes to waste at Stamford Stone – with our leftover stone chippings currently being used to form the base layer of new sections of the A14 in Cambridgeshire.