Such a task would be almost endless, and it would also be unprofitable. No description upon paper would give a practical idea of the appearance of the different varieties, and moreover the aspect and qualities of stone from the same quarry vary as different beds are reached.
It is therefore proposed to describe the characteristics which are common to most building stones, and to point out the qualities that are necessary to ensure a good material for building or engineering work.
A knowledge of these will form a guide in selecting stone fur such purposes from any quarry, new or old, whether in this country or abroad.
This having been done, a few of the best known British building stones will be described, in order that the student may have some idea of their peculiarities and uses.
Tables will be added, giving the names of the principal quarries in the country, which will serve to impress upon the student the numerous varieties of stone which exist, and the localities in which they occur.
It is hoped that these Tables will be of use to the practical man, but, in order that they may be so, it will be advisable to describe exactly how they were prepared.
They include all the quarries reported upon by the Royal Commissioners who selected the stone for the Houses of Parliament, except a few which have since ceased work.
This list was extended by adding to it the names of the principal quarries given in the official report on Mineral Statistics, by Mr. Hunt.
Next are added a few important quarries mentioned in Hull's Building Stones, De la Beche's Report, Wray on Stone, Gwilt's Encyclopaedia of Architecture, and some known to the author personally.
The list thus formed was completed as far as possible by comparison with the specimens in the Museum of Practical Geology and with those in another good collection of building stones.
The list was then sent to a great many different parts of the country, to be checked and supplemented by professional men having local knowledge, and also to a London stone merchant of great experience.1
With regard to any important stones of which the author had no personal knowledge, special information was obtained from experienced men on the spot.
The Tables are arranged to show the geological formations from which the different varieties of stone are obtained.2
These Notes do not, however, enter at all upon the subject from a geological point of view; the relative position of the different geological strata must be ascertained from works specially devoted to that subject.