Reigate stone

Reigate stone

Arched windows

Conservation project profile

Project focus: Bell and Wakefield towers, Tower of London

We're working to delay the deterioration of fragile Reigate stone  

Why this project?

Reigate stone was a problem for surveyors before us. In 1713, Sir Christopher Wren described it: ‘That which is to be most lamented, is the unhappy Choice of Materials, the Stone is decayed four inches deep, and falls of [sic] perpetually in great scales.’

The stone was used extensively at Hampton Court and the Tower for tracery and fine carved work in the Tudor and earlier periods. By Wren’s time it was understood to be susceptible to decay on exposure to the atmosphere. It is an unusual stone of variable quality, geologically neither sand nor limestone, and not well understood.

Until recently, decayed stone was replaced with another more durable type of stone. Today, our conservation approach demands we try to conserve, not replace the little Reigate left. 

Scheduled project works  

Timings: began in Summer 2007

Issues to address:

  • Reigate stone has long been recognised by surveyors as a material susceptible to decay on exposure to the atmosphere.

Scheduled works:

  • Carrying out a monitoring programme to identify optimal environmental conditions or stabilisation options.

Previous or recent works:

  • sampling and analysis of Reigate stone from old quarries and buildings.
  • documentation of the occurrence in buildings of Reigate.
  • participated in trialling of consolidants.

Other building projects

Click on the links below to view profiles of some of our other building projects for 2007-8

Learn about conservation

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