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There is plenty of Portland Stone around

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I regularly read and enjoy your publication and was interested to read your article 'English Heritage Investigates British Museum Stone' (AJ 30.9.99).

My own company, Albion Stone Quarries, is one of the two quarrying firms. Easton Masonry is not the other one. It has a masonry company which some years ago purchased a large quantity of cheaper French limestone that looks a bit similar to Por t land.

It is this limestone which is now being used on the British Museum.

The museum authorities blame the use of French stone on a lack of Portland Stone. This is simply not true; there is plenty of suitable Portland Stone.

Representatives of the museum and the design team inspected suitable blocks being extracted from our own quarry faces. If they really did believe there was a problem with the supply of Portland Stone, why did they not speak to the quarries again?

Instead, we received an instruction from the architect telling us to stop pestering the project team with letters telling them about the vast supplies of suitable Portland Stone.

We are therefore requesting that the Museum withdraws recent comments about the lack of Portland Stone. Vast reserves are available for future extraction, including our own recent planning permission (October 1999) to start mining the stone.

Michael J Poultney, managing director, Albion Stone Quarries, Redhill, Surrey

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