A trip down memory lane…

One of our favourite projects started all the way back in 2011 when we received a call from a large firm in Canada who wanted to visit Callow Quarry to see its red sandstone, with a prestigious project in mind.

Callow sandstone is an old red Devonian sandstone produced and quarried in Monmouthshire UK. It produces large block stone that is processed to provide a variety of building stones and masonry products.

A visit was arranged, the Canadians liked what they saw, and we were awarded the contract for the historical Halifax Armoury. Our brief was to saw the callow sandstone into specific size blocks, containerise and ship to Canada.

The Halifax Armoury was originally built in Halifax Nova Scotia in the 1890’s and played a significant role in Canadian’s defence and overseas operations. It was badly damaged in the Halifax explosion in 1917, with the west wall being displaced by about 600mm.

For Black Mountain Quarries shipping internationally was, in 2011, a new challenge. The extreme artic weather conditions in Canada meant that the containerised stone blocks, had frozen when crossing the Atlantic. When the containers were opened in Halifax Canada, they found the stones had shattered, rendering the block unusable. The moisture in the block had expanded due to the freezing conditions and destroyed the stone.

This wasn’t the only struggle that the Canadian weather conditions threw up, we could only deliver block at certain times of the year due to the sea freezing, rendering some ports completely inaccessible.

These early shipping struggles and extreme weather conditions meant that Black Mountain Quarries knowledge regarding shipping increased substantially and at pace. When block had to be delivered in the middle of winter, our crazy idea of sending the stone in refrigerated containers actually worked, by setting the containers to +10 degrees prevented the stone from breaking. 

It is incredible to think that stone from the United Kingdom is the best match for a historical building from the 1890’s in Canada.

This is a fantastic piece of history that Black Mountain Quarries will never forget. We still feel extremely honoured and proud to have been involved in such a project.

Click on link below to see the quarrying of the sandstone, cutting of the stone into six side sawn blocks and the loading of the containers.

The beautiful and historic products that they made from our natural callow sandstone will be showcased in the Halifax Armoury Canada forever. We cannot wait to continue our Canadian adventure, with phase two being just around the corner.

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Natural Sandstone from UK to Canada, Halifax