Building Stones Collection

The John Watson Building Stones Collection is named after John Watson (1842-1918), who donated his collection of approximately 300 British and foreign stones and specimens illustrating the manufacture of plasters and cements to the Museum in 1905. Watson had retired from his work in the Portland Cement industry and continued to develop the collection until his death in 1918. Today it comprises approximately 2,500 traditional building stones, roofing slates, road stones, flagstones and decorative and ornamental stones that were in extensive use throughout Britain and it's colonies during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The collection is housed in the former Museum of Economic Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences. The collection is open to the public by appointment only.

Monday to Friday
10:00 to 13:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

Saturday
10:00 to 16:00 

Sunday
Closed



Fifty years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Dr Stuart Agrell was given VIP treatment and a police escort after flying into Heathrow from the USA because he was carrying a bag full of very precious rock material. The samples were amongst the most expensive ever collected as they had been retrieved from the moon by two of the American Apollo 11 mission astronauts. The programme of their investigation was a remarkable and unprecedented example of international scientific collaboration, which still continues.

Stuart Agrell on the underground with a carpet bag of rocks from the Apollo 11 missionGuess what I’ve got in my bag? 50 years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Stuart Agrell nonchalantly carried some of the most valuable rocks ever collected back to Cambridge in his holdall. (© Mirrorpix, reproduced with permission)




Two of the University of Cambridge’s museums, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Museum of Zoology have been shortlisted for the prestigious Family Friendly Museum Award, it was announced today.