|BGS image ID: P023962|
Raising a block of Portland Stone from the Seacombe Quarry, Worth Matravers, Dorset. The block, cut from the face of the quarry by the plug and feathers method weighs about 4.5 tons. One of the advantages that the Portland Stone quarries have over other producers is the large size of the limestone blocks that can be produced. The limestone quarries of Portland Bill have been in operation since Roman times. The characteristic white limestones which have proved to be extremely durable, even in the most polluted of urban environments, can be found in important buildings in all major cities and most large towns in the United Kingdom.
The Isle of Purbeck, though perhaps more famous as the source of the fossiliferous Purbeck Marble, is also a major producer of Portland Stone. The same succession of worked beds - Basebed, Whitbed and Roach - that outcrop in the Isle of Portland extends into the Purbeck area. Many of the quarries in the Isle of Purbeck were sited along the coastal cliffs and the stone was worked via an extensive series of underground galleries.
BGS Old photograph number A4985
Date of photograph: 1930.
Photographer: J. Rhodes