Although one would not normally think about stone as being glamorous it’s interesting that one of the major selling points of a behind-the-scenes walking tour of sets from the Harry Potter films is that it includes the opportunity to step onto the Yorkstone floor of the Great Hall itself.
Yorkstone has an interesting history and has been worked from quarries in Yorkshire since medieval times. If you can’t take a trip to the Warner Brothers Studios then an alternative is the Lincoln Cathedral in England known as one of the finest Gothic buildings in Europe and which is often cited as an excellent example of Yorkstone flooring. The cathedral is also no stranger to the movie scene as it has doubled on two occasions for Westminster Abbey firstly in The Da Vinci Code featuring Tom Hanks and secondly in The Young Victoria for the coronation scenes.
Yorkstone has been used extensively in building, construction and landscaping applications as it is hard wearing and durable. Yorkstone is a type of sandstone and is a traditional paving stone used in London although it was initially used for roofing and known as grey slate or thackstone in Yorkshire. Today it is prized for its naturally worn surfaces and is used in both new and period restoration building projects and is one of the reclaimed stones salvaged for re-use from demolished sites. Due to its character and age, reclaimed stone paving can be more expensive to purchase than new Yorkstone paving.
Reclaiming stone and specifically Yorkstone can be challenging as it is difficult to find in good condition with the correct thickness in addition to a clean, smooth face. If the stone has been outside both frost and time damage could lead to splitting (laminating) that renders the stone inappropriate for reclamation and re-use. On the other hand even if the stone has been indoors, if it has been used for house flooring and covered in asphalt then the surface is also damaged and no longer smooth.
The Yorkstone has a bit of magic of its own since it displays colour variations depending on its mineral content that differs throughout the quarries from which it is mined. Slabs of paving, cobbles and walling stones make up the forms of newly quarried Yorkstone. Prior to the 1870s before the advent of modern mining machinery ‘huggers’ were used to carry Yorkstone from shallow quarries and although it must have been back-breaking work the thought of someone being employed as a hugger has a nice ring to it.