Finnish ‘Baltic Brown’ Stone decorates London

Finland is blessed with much attractive granite*  which is extensively quarried for cladding buildings,  many in London.  A particularly distinctive variety of Finnish granite is known as Rapakivi [= ‘mud-ball’ in Finnish because of its pattern – photos here ].  A type of Rapakivi called  ‘Baltic Brown’ comes from the Finnish  quarries  shown on this map and in detail on this map.

There are some pictures of the ‘Baltic Brown’ quarry at Vaalimaantie – click here.

* and lots of ‘Soapstone’  too.

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Granite variety ‘Rapakivi’  [translates as ‘Mud Ball’]

London’s buildings have long put ‘Baltic Brown’ to good use. An example is the extensive cladding to the rectangular pillars supporting the arcade of Central Cross, a large building on the West side of Tottenham Court Road. See Google street view here.

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Finnish ‘Baltic Brown’ stone  clads pillars of Central Cross Building, Tottenham Court Road

Upmarket New Bond Street is another home for Baltic Brown, which clads  the façade of Watches of Switzerland and has recently been refurbished.  See Google street view here.

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Finnish ‘Baltic Brown’ stone  clads ‘Watches of Switzerland’ store, 16 New Bond Street

A huge block of Finnish Granite [name /quarry not yet found] forms the plinth of a charming bronze statue Boy and Frog in the Begonia Garden in Regent’s Park.

This Grade II listed statue was donated by Sigismund Goetze, an eminent (and financially successful)  London artist and great supporter of Regent’s Park. The statue was designed by Sir William Reid Dick in 1936.

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Boy and Frog statue, 1936, Regent’s Park

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I discovered these Finnish / London  stone connections with the help of urban geologist Ruth Siddall of University College London and her remarkable ‘Geological Tours of London‘ and her new site ‘London Pavement Geology‘. Good BBC article here. Fascinating. My thanks to Ruth and UCL.  I’m on the look-out for more!

And I was introduced to Ruth through the  wonderful London organisation ‘The Building Exploratory’ who’s work opens eyes and minds to the architectural marvels of London.

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