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.
The possibility that the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago may have been caused by the eruption of the Deccan lavas in India has been increased by new research, published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin (doi:10.1130/B31167.1).