A passing shot of Roach Stone

Portland Stone is about as iconic as stone gets in the UK.  Christopher Wren used it for St. Paul's Cathedral (OK, he had shares in the quarry...).  Most of Whitehall and the great buildings of state, finance - the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange etc – and culture bear witness to its historic use.  It was used for British War Graves from the two World Wars and for the Cenotaph and for the Bomber Command Memorial.  

It's not unique to London.  Catch a mind's-eye train up to Cambridge and the world-famous Fitzwilliam Museum and the University's Senate House are probably the first Portland Stone buildings that come to mind.  Move on and think inter alia of the Port of Liverpool building and perhaps less gloriously of Starbucks in Peterborough (although the lower reaches of the latter are faced with Larvikite) or think of some of the modern Portland Stone buildings in other places.  Cast your mind's eye back to London and see the front of Buckingham Palace, suitably adorned with Royals on the balcony on the occasion of your choice.  Jump to Nottingham and look at the Council House...  But enough of this geographic leapfrog!!

Portland Stone is not one uniform bed; several varieties are quarried commercially including two particularly fossiliferous ones - Grove Whitbed and Roach Stone.  This photo is of Roach Stone, as this post's title hopefully suggests.  If I were geeky enough to have a favourite building stone, this would probably be it.

So, the photo?  I happened to be back in London late last week; during the visit, I came up from the Tube at Green Park Station, which is clad in a massive artwork Sea Strata, by John Maine RA.  There was no-one on the steps behind me so I got my phone out of my bag and took a couple of opportunistic photos of the nearest bit of the wall.  I wasn't trying to take an arty shot, I didn't steady the camera (well, phone actually), and I didn't even think about the light.

Make a cup of tea, sit down, relax, and count the fossils.


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