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Stone collections, data and testing

The BGS Collection of UK Building Stones is a cornerstone of the BGS Building Stone services. BGS (c); UKRI.

Our team of experts has access to the full range of BGS facilities and resources.

Building Stone Collections

The BGS Building Stone Collection (part of the larger BGS Petrology Collection) consists of hand samples and thin sections from tens of thousands of buildings and quarries throughout the UK. The collection underpins our stone matching service and much of the work we do. The collection continues to grow on a daily basis.

Recent additions include the National Roofing Slate Collection and the British Building Stone Collection (previously held in London).


The National Archive of Geological Photographs is accessible to the public through GeoScenic. Photographs of stone-built structures, quarries, building stone samples and thin sections are available for the public to view.


BGS currently maintains a number of databases containing building stone information.

Current distribution of sites in the BritPits database and licence regions. (Channel Islands not shown). BGS (c) UKRI.

The mines and quarries database ('BritPits') contains information on thousands of historical and active building stone quarries in the UK.

The BritRocks database contains information on over 26 000 building stone samples.

The Building Stones Database for England is a repository of data on building stone resources and the stone built heritage of England.

The Building Stones Database of Scotland is an integrated, open-access resource on building stones, quarries, samples and stone-built sites. It aims to define and describe all of the building stones of Scotland and provide details of associated quarries, built sites and samples for each one.


BGS's rock volume characterisation lab provide a comprehensive range of geotechnical tests in support of building stone activities, including:

  • dry, saturated and particle density
  • effective porosity
  • saturation coefficient
  • water absorption
  • compressive and flexural strength