Bricks – a postscript

The other week I was in Keswick for the first time. This further confirmed the feeling that simple elements of the built environment matter – the bricks are blue! Actually, a sort of dusty blue-green with a lamellar structure that makes the stone look like a distant cousin of slate. Often buildings in the old center of the town used this material with larger pieces of sandstone (soft ochre with some darkening corrosion) to highlight door- and window-frames and corners.

All this brick obsession might be a bit worrying if it wasn’t for the discovery that I am not alone. The British Geological Survey along with English Heritage have produced a survey and database of local building stones and potential quarries of origin.

Now, to be fair, English Heritage are doing this because it is part of their statutory duty to work towards the conservation of the historic environment. However, the project apparently builds on the work of building stone enthusiasts within the British Geological Survey dating back to 1835  (NERC, 2012).

The next question on the topic of elements of normal – what was the soundscape of the 1950s in northern England?


NERC (2012) ‘No stone unturned’, Planet Earth, Winter 2012. Available at


About Bruce Davenport

Research associate at Newcastle University. Previously a museum educator and researcher.
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