Building Stone Collection

Containing around 16,000 specimens, the Building Stone Collection is one of the largest documented collections of its kind in the UK. It contains a huge variety of UK and European rocks, many of which can no longer be collected.

The historical context of the collection makes it particularly useful for matching stone in historical buildings about to be conserved.

Collection history

In 1834 a massive fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster. This initiated a survey of all UK building stone quarries to find suitable stone for the rebuild, marking the beginning of the Building Stone Collection. 

The collection also contains building stones exhibited at the 1852 and 1862 Great Exhibitions.

Special acquisitions
  • AG Nicholson collection of marbles and decorative stones.
  • London Natural History Society collection of marbles.
  • Wargraves Commission collection of monumental stone.
  • Wettern collection of granites.
  • Two tabletops decorated with a mosaic of polished stones, collected by Professor Faustino Corsi.

Contact information

David Smith 
Collections manager 
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5163

Contact us 

Mineralogy collections team

Contact the mineralogy collections team with scientific enquiries about the collections.