Natural stone has been used as a building material for thousands of years. The Romans were famed for their construction prowess and the Ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramids with quarried limestone and granite hewn by hand into huge blocks, each weighing many tons.
However, right up to modern days, the location of a building usually determined the colour of the building’s façade. This was mainly due to the fact that transporting natural stone from quarry to ‘building site’ was not usually an option for most ‘everyday’ builders.
Having said that, Portland stone was being shipped from the Dorset island to London as early as the 14th Century, being used to build the Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London as well as the first stone London bridge.
By the mid 17th Century, no doubt prompted by Wren’s choice of Portland stone for the new St Paul’s Cathedral, and then the coming of the railways in 1865, the stone was increasingly used for major buildings such as the British Museum, Somerset House and the National Gallery.
In fact, Portland stone continues to be a popular choice of building material as can be seen with BBC’s Broadcasting House and the Armed Forces memorial within the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Another ‘local’ stone and revered for its honey colouring is Bath Stone. Initially mined under Combe Down, Somerset, the warm glowing material is what gives the City of Bath its distinctive architecture. It can also be seen throughout Southern England especially in churches, public buildings and railway stations.
Although Bath stone, like Portland stone, was favoured by builders, because as a ‘freestone’ it can be sawn or ‘squared up’ in any direction, it was also commissioned because of its colour. This is what prompted 19th Century Architect Hans Price to design much of Weston-Super-Mare using Bath stone.
It was also the reason given by Prince Frederick, son of George lll, who insisted on using the amber coloured stone for his Georgian mansion, Lancaster House.
Although Bath stone is still seen as a highly desirable building material, as with Portland stone, it is now prohibitively expensive for most construction projects. This is mainly due to the wide-scale introduction of cheaper building material as well as the wholesale closure of many quarries and with it the loss of skilled labour and mining expertise.
Today, there are less than 200 active quarries in the UK.
So, is there an alternative?
Since 2011, we have been responding to the insatiable demand for traditional coloured stone such as Portland, Bath, Cheshire and York but without the inordinately expensive costs.
Serene Stone supplies a highly cost-effective alternative to mined natural stone.
Manufactured by highly skilled technicians in a state of the art factory, our in-house designers can produce both bespoke ‘one-off’ products or larger volumes – all matching the colour of natural stone.
We can even match existing stonework that may no longer be available.
Produced in a variety of formats including semi-dry, wetcast, lightweight and pre-cast – all designed and manufactured to BS1217. This ensures a stringent quality controlled Process from start to finish.
All our products are designed to reproduce the colour and texture of natural stone including Portland and Bath. We also can create bespoke colours to suit your specification.