Building stones in Edinburgh from the Permian and Triassic New Red Sandstone of Moray

From Earthwise
Revision as of 00:05, 8 November 2015 by Scotfot (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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.

Permian and Triassic sandstones of the 'New Red Sandstone' in Moray are typically highly siliceous and well cemented. Colours vary considerably but typically yellow, buff and fawn sandstones predominate unlike the bright red stones of southern Scotland and Cumbria.


On the Moray coast, the Sandstones of Hopeman have long been used as a source of good building stone. Clashach Quarry has been operated by Moray Stone Cutters, recently supplying stone to the Stirling Stone Group for some major building projects in Edinburgh. Sandstones from Clashach are typically yellow to buff coloured, but can be variegated with brown limonite wisps and patches. Recently, dull red stone has also been extracted. The sandstone is siliceous and composed of well rounded quartz grains with feldspar.' Large scale cross-bedding is taken as an indication of dune formation although locally, water-lain pebbly sandstones are also present. These rocks have yielded reptilian footprints but little else in the way of fossils.

Recent major building projects using Clashach stone cladding include the Museum of Scotland (extension to the Royal Museum of Scotland) (27)(1998), Chambers Street and the Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society building (163) (1997), Morrison Street. The latter has also used Clashach stone, on account of its strength, for external paving. The Paton Building. Nos. 1-3 York Place (176), originally constructed in sandstone from Craigleith, has been splendidly re-faced in Clashach stone. Buildings where Clashach stone has been used in recent years include:

Nos. 202-254 Canongate (143) (1958-66).

Nos. 23 - 24 Fettes Row (87) (1974). Repairs.

Chessels Court (185) (1969), Canongate.

Moray House Teacher Training College (184) (1970), Holyrood Road. Repairs.

Edinburgh Castle (9) (1978) restoration work.


Upper Triassic sandstones, worked at Spynie Quarry near Elgin, have been used in several Edinburgh buildings in recent years. An aeolian origin is ascribed to the sandstone which is cross-bedded, yellowish grey, very fine-grained, hard and locally highly siliceous. Examples of the use of this stone include:

83-89 Great King Street (169) (1982). Mouldings.

39 Howe Street (168) (1982). Mouldings.

la St Bernards Crescent (170) (1981). Indents.

12 Leslie Place (171) (1981). Indents.

At all times follow: The Scottish Access Codeand Code of conduct for geological field work