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Building Stones: Elliot Carter (Earth Heritage Trust)

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Building Stones: Elliot Carter (Earth Heritage Trust)

  1. 1. A Thousand Years of Building with Stone: Databases, Crowdsourcing and an Awful Lot of Sandstone Elliot Carter Herefordshire & Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust
  2. 2. Summary 1. Introduction to organisation and project 2. Case studies of ongoing project work 3. Successes and challenges so far 4. Database/website development 5. (Nearly) Finished Result
  3. 3. H&W Earth Heritage Trust • We are a charity established in 1996 • We promote public awareness of Earth Heritage • We run the Geological Records Centre for Herefordshire & Worcestershire • We research, survey and designate Local Geological Sites and work with planning departments to protect them • We carry out practical site geoconservation
  4. 4. Project Background • Strategic Stone Survey • Good overview of stone use in each county • However • Very few connections made between buildings and quarries • No community involvement • No archival research • This project is aimed at addressing those limitations • 1 year development project led to successful HLF bid
  5. 5. A Thousand Years of Building with Stone • A 3½ year project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £393,100 • Employs 3 members of staff • Key Aims • Re-discover local building stone quarries • Research the skills, techniques and people involved in exploiting this resource • Raise awareness and appreciation of local stone, providing people with a sense of place • Create a database linking stone to quarries and particular buildings
  6. 6. Why Building Stones?
  7. 7. • Herefordshire & Worcestershire have some of the most diverse geology in the UK • The variety of stone types available has created many locally distinctive building styles • This variety is not always widely recognised and can be highly localised • Better and wider understanding of this contribute to appreciation and conservation of stone built heritage and can inform sensible planning decisions Why Building Stones?
  8. 8. Case Studies of Ongoing Work Worcester Bridge • Two stages of construction: 1780 and 1930s widening • Multiple documentary sources, all unclear • 1780 – Original bridge completed • Money paid to a Mrs Woolascot for stone from Farnol’s Moor, Salop: • Quarry Location not known (near Bridgenorth). • Balustrades said to be from Tixall Quarry near Stafford: • No primary documentary evidence. • Insides of piers specified as Ombersley Stone (20 miles upriver): • Was this carried out? Probably red stone still visible under arches. • Piers specified as “Best Old Field stone”: • It is not clear where or what this refers to. • 1933 – Widening work encases original bridge obscuring much of the stone • Stone specified as Darley Dale Stone: • A very close match has been found with stone from Birchover Quarry 2 miles from Darley Dale. • Balustrades reportedly re-used: • Document not clear, but observation of the stone is consistent with this
  9. 9. Case Studies of Ongoing Work
  10. 10. Case Studies of Ongoing Work Bromyard Town Centre • Highly variable local stone types • Documentary evidence only gives hints • A Mr. Phipps, owned quarries on Bromyard Downs and carried out substantial works on the parish church 1890-1910. • Did he use his quarries and which were they? • Probably only possible to narrow down to a range of source quarries • Local residents have been enormously helpful in finding samples
  11. 11. A single wall in St Peter’s Church, Bromyard…
  12. 12. Green sandstones Sg1 – olive green, medium to fine sandstone, laminated, flaggy, sometimes orange iron stained Sg2 – olive green, medium to fine sandstone, generally massively bedded, occasionally laminated, >10cm beds, sometimes iron stained or mottled with greyer patches. Sb – sandstone orange-brown to buff, flaggy, probably co- exists with green sandstones along a spectrum of iron content.
  13. 13. Red & purple sandstones Sr1 – brick red sandstone, flaggy, sometimes laminated, sometimes blotched green, rare. Sr2 – chocolate brown sandstone, often laminated occ. massive, beds generally >10cm. Sp – purple to chocolate brown sandstone, generally >5cm, massive bedded.
  14. 14. Calcareous conglomerate C – conglomerate, grey-green silty sand matrix, rounded grey calcareous clasts weathering to buff/yellow.
  15. 15. (Very) coarse grey pebbly quartzite Q – sedimentary quartzite, coarse with angular, rounded pebbles often in stringers defining bedding, 5cm normal grading sequences, X-beds, grey, occasionally red, purple, green or mottled between these. Some blocks in church show slickensides.
  16. 16. Case Studies of Ongoing Work Mines and Quarries Inspectorate Records • Volunteer went through annual reports at the National Archives • Revealed variation in patterns of quarrying between Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  17. 17. Case Studies of Ongoing Work Worcestershire Herefordshire
  18. 18. Case Studies of Ongoing Work Mines and Quarries Inspectorate Records • Start to get a picture of quarryman’s often overlooked lives and stories • George Phillpotts killed by a quarry blasting in 1906
  19. 19. Successes and Challenges Differences from classic crowdsourcing/citizen science projects • Research is open ended • Almost limitless places to look • Only some aspects can be broken down into simple, definable tasks • Success in connecting buildings to quarries is often not linked to effort put in • Potential to lead to demoralisation • Difficult to know where to start • Some tasks (e.g. recording geology) can be highly technical, needing a lot of practice • Difficult to create a “recipe” or flowchart • Ultimately the overall task of connecting buildings to quarries is hard
  20. 20. Successes and Challenges Results of research so far • It is difficult to ensure standardised results across all areas • It is sometimes difficult to persuade people that they are perfectly capable of making useful technical observations However • Fantastically dedicated work being put in • Previously unknown and often surprising things coming out • This enriches the project beyond what was originally envisaged • An overlapping patchwork of both deep and broad studies • Part of project staff’s role is to direct effort to fill the gaps • Local knowledge and access is invaluable
  21. 21. Successes and Challenges Supporting Volunteers • Training • Drop-in sessions • Dedicated archivist • Combine the skills of those with more and less technical backgrounds
  22. 22. A Building Stones Database Building a database-driven website • Key requirements • Remote access to enter data • Webmap GIS to show data spatially • Interconnectedness between related • Intuitive, solid functionality for data entry and searching • Flexible to changing requirements • Planning-procurement-development process takes a long time • Early start important
  23. 23. A Building Stones Database Development • Agile approach – no detailed specification • Has been good and saved time • But need to have mutual trust • Shared index, management and API with Welsh Chapels Project • Split schema accommodates differences in data • Saved time and money for all concerned Difficult Questions • Data forms’ complexity vs. formidability • Issues of certainty • Assign a reliability to each reference? • Contradictions change everything • Multiple mutually exclusive possibilities? • Excel for data collection
  24. 24. The (Nearly) Finished Result
  25. 25. Webmap
  26. 26. Webmap
  27. 27. Webmap
  28. 28. Webmap
  29. 29. Record View
  30. 30. Record View
  31. 31. Links to source quarries
  32. 32. Links to source quarries
  33. 33. Editing Records
  34. 34. Searching and Filtering
  35. 35. Searching and Filtering
  36. 36. Searching and Filtering
  37. 37. Going Forward • Increasing scientific testing as stone samples collected • More work to define and assign tasks to fill gaps in data • Ongoing training and support for volunteers • Final edits and features built for the website • Iterative tweaks in response to testing in the real world
  38. 38. Thank you Get in touch or find us at: building.stones@worc.ac.uk 01905 542014 @BuildingStones www.buildingstones.org.uk (from April 2015)

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