Editing Building stones of Edinburgh - introduction

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[[File:IS041.jpg|400px|thumb|View over Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth from Blackford Hill. Edinburgh Castle is seen on top of the volcanic Castle Hill.]]
 
[[File:IS041.jpg|400px|thumb|View over Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth from Blackford Hill. Edinburgh Castle is seen on top of the volcanic Castle Hill.]]
 
The City of Edinburgh possesses some of the finest sandstone-constructed buildings in Europe. Set in spectacular volcanic scenery carved from parts of an ancient extinct volcano, which erupted some 300 million years ago, the city was endowed with excellent local sandstone resources. The construction of both Old and New Towns exploited these building stones, some of which, for example the famous Craigleith stone, were exported around the world. The original Old Town was built on small hills, overlooked by the crags of the largest volcanic remnant, Arthur's Seat and by Calton Hill, another part of the volcano. To the south of the modern city are the higher hills of the Pentlands, volcanic rocks of even earlier eruptions. Variation in resistance to erosion between these hard volcanic rocks and the contemporary softer sedimentary strata has resulted in a landscape of hills and hollows. During the last 1.6 million years, glaciers of the Ice Age further exploited the variable physical characteristics of the ancient bedrock. Ice of the last glaciation disappeared some 12,000 years ago leaving the bold scenery we see today.
 
The City of Edinburgh possesses some of the finest sandstone-constructed buildings in Europe. Set in spectacular volcanic scenery carved from parts of an ancient extinct volcano, which erupted some 300 million years ago, the city was endowed with excellent local sandstone resources. The construction of both Old and New Towns exploited these building stones, some of which, for example the famous Craigleith stone, were exported around the world. The original Old Town was built on small hills, overlooked by the crags of the largest volcanic remnant, Arthur's Seat and by Calton Hill, another part of the volcano. To the south of the modern city are the higher hills of the Pentlands, volcanic rocks of even earlier eruptions. Variation in resistance to erosion between these hard volcanic rocks and the contemporary softer sedimentary strata has resulted in a landscape of hills and hollows. During the last 1.6 million years, glaciers of the Ice Age further exploited the variable physical characteristics of the ancient bedrock. Ice of the last glaciation disappeared some 12,000 years ago leaving the bold scenery we see today.
[[File:P519528.jpg|400px|thumbnail|left|Rock specimen of sandstone from Hailes Quarry, Edinburgh, Lothian Region, Scotland. Oblique view of sample block of Hailes sandstone showing hand-polished faces and name of quarry cut into the stone. This specimen is of Carboniferous age. British Geological Survey Petrology Collection sample number U991. The black flecks in the pale yellow-grey sandstone are fragments of carbonaceous fossil plant debris. Large accumulations of such plant debris are what we know as coal deposits, and come from rocks of the same age as the Hailes sandstone. Size of specimen: 10x10x8 cm. Munsell colour code and colour 5YR7/1, pinkish grey. P519528 ]]
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[[File:P519528.jpg|400px|thumbnail|left|Rock specimen of sandstone from Hailes Quarry, Edinburgh, Lothian Region, Scotland. Oblique view of sample block of Hailes sandstone showing hand-polished faces and name of quarry cut into the stone. This specimen is of Carboniferous age. British Geological Survey Petrology Collection sample number U991. The black flecks in the pale yellow-grey sandstone are fragments of carbonaceous fossil plant debris. Large accumulations of such plant debris are what we know as coal deposits, and come from rocks of the same age as the Hailes sandstone. Size of specimen: 10x10x8 cm. Munsell colour code and colour 5YR7/1, pinkish grey. ]]
 
The sedimentary rocks, in particular the top quality sandstone, provided the local natural resource so effectively exploited in the construction of Edinburgh's buildings. Expansion of the city, with the development of the New Town on the north side of the Nor' Loch beginning in 1760, offered exciting challenges to architects and builders alike. During the latter part of the 18th century the demand for quality stone, so readily available on the doorsteps of the city, reached its peak. Continued expansion of the city during the 19th and early 20th century exhausted supplies of locally available material and led builders to look elsewhere, firstly in the Lothians and Fife and latterly to other parts of Scotland and Northern England, as transport systems including canals and railways developed.
 
The sedimentary rocks, in particular the top quality sandstone, provided the local natural resource so effectively exploited in the construction of Edinburgh's buildings. Expansion of the city, with the development of the New Town on the north side of the Nor' Loch beginning in 1760, offered exciting challenges to architects and builders alike. During the latter part of the 18th century the demand for quality stone, so readily available on the doorsteps of the city, reached its peak. Continued expansion of the city during the 19th and early 20th century exhausted supplies of locally available material and led builders to look elsewhere, firstly in the Lothians and Fife and latterly to other parts of Scotland and Northern England, as transport systems including canals and railways developed.
  

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