More to Life than Chinese Grey Granite
Post date: 04 Feb, 2019
A hundred and more years ago, when most of our city streets were first paved, the stones used were a commodity as concrete is today. Few paid attention to their colour, it is just good fortune that the end product is attractive. Initially by sea, the early materials came from coastal quarries, mostly in The British Isles but not exclusively so. Typicallygranite settsandkerbswould come from Aberdeen, Creetown and Dalbeattie in SW Scotland and also Cornwall.Inland quarries only became a realistic possibility with the advent of canals but more importantly by far, the railway.The Shambles,YorkInthe early to mid twentieth century, cash became king and man madematerials were seen to be a more economical resource. The use of ourhome grown natural stone became less prevalent, but with the fall ofthe Iron Curtain in 1989 this started to change. Economical andrelatively good quality Chinese granites started to become availableto designers and architects. These tended to be silver grey, mid greyor black, with costs as little as 1/4 that of Yorkstone or Europeangranites, so they were hungrily bought up.Intime, other more interesting colours became available, but thecheapest by far tended to be theSilver Grey. The G603 comes fromhuge quarries in Southern China which produce a good quality product,extremely economically, so more and more schemes started to use itand the silver grey is still the biggest seller in the UK, which alsomeans that we have an awful lot of very “grey” schemes here inthe UK.Chatham PlaceHowever,times are changing. Supply costs in China are going up, shippingcosts are going up, but more importantly to a lot of contractors, thetimescales to produce these materials are often just too long. Moreand more schemes are being run on such tight time-scales that waitingthree months for some paving from China is not such a good option anymore. So the wheel turns and we are starting to look a little closerto home again.AlthoughEuropean stone is not normally as cheap as Chinese, production timesand delivery times mean that materials can be ordered with firstdeliveries 3 or 4 weeks from placing an order. That is a two monthsaving in time compared to China and when you realise that Europeanoptions are only two or three times the price of equivalent Chinesegranites (instead of a historical four to five times), the time savedoften makes up for the extra cost in the material.Aloft Hotel, ExCel Centre, LondonButmaybe we should look even closer to home? The British Isles still hasan amazing range of natural stone to choose from. True, not all of itis technically suitable for a streetscape, but there are more andmore useable options becoming readily available all the time. Slatesfrom Cumbria and Wales, granites from Cornwall and Scotland,Caithness stone, Pennant stone, Purbeck or Portland limestones and ahuge range of Yorkstones are all there to be used and that is beforeeven considering any of the multitude of building stones that wehave.Ruskin Square, Grampian GraniteTheBritish Geological Survey’sHQ in Keyworth now has a geological path laid exclusively with British stone from every geological era, manyof which either already are in production, or could be produced ifthe demand was there and actually, many are not as expensive as youmight think.BGS Geological WalkYes,Chinese stone is still cheap..ish, but don’t forget that we have awealth of potential here in Britain and Europe and not a lot of it isGrey!You can view our British Paving rangehere.