The Island’s stones are known to have been worked for nearly 1,000 years, originally on local projects: Rufus Castle 11th century, Exeter Cathedral 14th century and Portland Castle 1540s.
From the early 1600s it started to become London’s dominant stone, with Inigo Jones using it on Banqueting Hall, the stone having previously been used with success on elements of Westminster Abbey and the old gothic St Paul’s Cathedral.
Vast quantities of the stone went into London after the Great Fire of 1666 and up until this point the stone had come from the Landslips on the east coast of the Island.
As demand continued into the eighteenth century, quarries opened up along the northern coast and during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the centre of the Island.
Despite these historically large volumes of stone leaving the Island for the construction of buildings in London and other major cities across Britain and the World, large reserves remain on the Island.
From the map you can see that nearly 50% of the Island’s stone has been extracted. At the current rate of extraction there are many hundreds of years of stone to be won, albeit sometimes from more challenging locations.
For more information on the Island’s stone, please click here.