Building stones in Edinburgh from the Limestone Coal and Upper Limestone Formations

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From: McMillan, A.A., Gillanders, R.J. and Fairhurst, J.A. 1999 Building stones of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Geological Society.

Edinburgh's buildings - location map, inset (Central Edinburgh.
Edinburgh's buildings - location map.

Joppa quarries[edit]

Three quarries worked strata in the Limestone Coal Formation and Upper Limestone Formation at Joppa. One was situated at the shore where sandstone was obtained; a second quarry was opened about 1780. A third more extensive working called 'The Quarry' was bounded by the present Milton Road East, South Morton Street, the railway and Brunstane Road (now called Joppa Quarry Park). The Joppa Sandstone of the Upper Limestone Formation was worked for a yellow building stone. Hugh Miller, the Cromarty stone mason and famous geologist, was a frequent visitor to these quarries. The latter two quarries also exposed good seams of fireclay and before the end of the 18th century a large brickmaking works was established near the shore. At the peak of activity at the brickworks, 18,000 bricks were produced per week.


At the west end of Newcraighall Road traces can be seen of another of Edinburgh's older quarries. This quarry worked building stone in the Limestone Coal Formation to the north the road. The nearby 'Quarry Cottages' were built about 1880, towards the end of the quarry's active life. The earliest known use of stone from quarry was in the building of part of Holyrood Palace [146] between 1529 and 1532. At that time Niddrie stone was used in the construction of chimneys, battlements, water spouts and lintels as well as for ashlar work. By 1845 the 'excellent and valuable quarry at Niddy' was suspended except for estate use. Thirteen years later it was again in use but had ceased operation by the time the first Quarry List was published in 1895.

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