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From the organisers of

Welsh may emulate Scots with liaison group

15 March 2002

The Stone in Wales Conference being staged at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 3-5 April could lead to the formation of a Welsh Stone Liaison Group along the lines of the Group formed in Scotland following a similar conference in Edinburgh in 1997.

Cadw, the Welsh equivalent of English Heritage, have agreed to publish a report of the conference afterwards in the same way that Historic Scotland did after the conference in Edinburgh.

The idea of the Welsh conference grew out of the realisation that the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan\'s, though excellent in many ways, failed to say anything worthwhile about the regional stones involved in farm cottages and chapels.

The aim of the conference is to attract as broad an audience as possible from amenity and heritage groups, local authorities, architectural practices, the stone industry and academia.

So that nobody is priced out of attending, the fee has been kept down to £40 for the three days plus £16 if you want to include the conference dinner at the Museum of Welsh Life. Accommodation is extra and up to those taking part to organise.

While Wales is most commonly associated with slate, which is still produced on a large scale, it also has a variety of limestones and sandstones, including Pennant, Has and Old Red Sandstone.

The conference has the moral backing of the Welsh National Assembly (although, to the chagrin of the organisers, not the financial backing) and the opening address wifi be given by Sue Essex of the Assembly.

Each of the the three days of the conference has a separate theme: the resource; properties of the material; the history of the use of stone.

The speakers include Dr Graham Lott of the British Geological Survey, who will talk about the geology of the building stones of Wales and Ian Thomas from the National Stone Centre, speaking about the stone industry in the Principality.

Dr Eric Robinson of the Geologists\' Association will examine the more exotic stones and Dr Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd of Trinity College, Caerfyrddin, will discuss the building stones of Cardigan and St Dogmaels.

Dr Richard Merriman of the British Geological Survey wifi explain how roofmg slate was formed, Dr Tim Palmer of the Institute of Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University will be asking "why is Portland so special?" and Drjana Horak of National Museums & Galleries of Wales will talk about Mona Marble.

Traditional surface treatments of stone will be examined by Dr Peter Burman from the Centre for Conservation at the University of York and Susan Buckham, from National Museums of Scotland, will talk about the processes involved in the decay of carved stonework in the light of research in progress in Scotland.

Case histories will be provided for Tintern, St Davids Cathedral, Valle Crucis Abbey and Abbey Cwmhir, with some site visits.

And the conference can claim some success even before it has been held because the St Fagans museum, which is a museum of buildings, has agreed with the Dry Stone Walling Assodation to build characteristic walls around some of the buildings. The museum is also talking about producing a booklet about the building stones of Wales.

About 100 people have booked to attend the conference so far. If you would like to join them, details are available from:

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