BUILDING STONE IN THE CITY OF MANCHESTER
This website looks at the five buildings in central Manchester pictured here to trace the histories and geographical locations of the stone out of which they are built. Stone is often thought of as a durable material that characterises the stability of place but here we show how stone is continually undergoing change. Similarly, cities are sites of endless process and transformation, and stone, because it lingers in place for a while is an excellent resource with which to trace these changes in the city’s material character. Stone decays, is colonised by life forms, is sandblasted and cleansed, protected and replaced
Stone might be imported to clothe buildings because of a range of factors: its aesthetic and workable qualities, the existence of efficient transport networks, nearby supplies, architectural styles and trends, and the type of building under construction. By looking at the processes through which stone becomes part of a building, we can identify the relationships that the city has with other places, how bits of other sites are incorporated into the city. We can track the histories where different stone was fashionable, the distribution of stone use and the visible results of stone quarrying on the places where stone was sourced. Here, we highlight the quarries – or the traces of quarries –from which stone was extracted, and investigate their current environmental condition and use. An exploration of geographical links also evokes the geological and geomorphological origins of stone.
In earlier times, stone supplies tended to be quarried in nearby locations but as transport links and technology developed, cities were able to import stone from further afield. In contemporary times, stone in Manchester arrives from Norway, Sweden, Italy, Greece, South Africa and Canada, as well as from diverse British sources. As new architectural tastes emerge, links with supplying sites are dropped and new links established, although when stone needs to be replaced, old links may be resurrected.
By clicking on the image of the building, you will be taken to a page which gives further images and information about the structure. And by following a further link, you will be taken to another page which features images and details of the quarries from which these buildings derived their stone.