Comedy Dave's Mate Steve (Part 39)

Martin & Mandy

So I'm getting wise to this game now we have been at it for a few years and I arrive at the subject of flooring. Yorkstone would be nice, the flooring that was originally in the Nave was just enough for us to cover the walkways on the parapets but not much else, and 75% of the Nave needs flooring, so what to do. I've got some friends who have just built a bungalow and they have a really nice but very regimented Yorkstone floor that we go round to look at. "Arh yes" they say "this came from this place and they were really nice and the reverse of the Yorkstone was machined so it worked well with under floor heating and it's £70 a square metre". All good positive things. So off I scuttle to have a look at what they have in their yard and sure enough there's piles and piles of Yorkstone. I wander round and take a sample away to show to Sarah the conservation officer, who needs to approve it before we can use it, and in passing I say to the bloke in the yard 'So where did it come from' expecting to hear 'Yorkshire' as an answer. "No idea" he says and my alarm bells go off. I smell a rat. Now I've read a lot about stone flooring and my back garden has a small patio with Marshall Indian sandstone in it and it looks very nice thanks, not as nice as the stuff I'm looking at, but it does the job. So I have my sample and I start hunting around on the internet to see what else I can discover. I find a company who will sell me Indian sandstone (Yorkstone is also a sandstone) for £20 a square metre - they have pictures of this stuff on their website and it's all crated up and the wooden crates, well, they look just like the crates from the yard I've just been in! Something is not right here at all.....

Published Version

It suddenly dawns upon me that Comedy Dave the window bloke is a Yorkshire man and lives in Yorkshire so I call him and say 'Know anybody who owns a quarry?' I suffer Dave's new joke of the week which is something about horses and ready meals and then he says 'Sure I do, leave it with me'

A couple of weeks later we are up in Yorkshire with Dave looking at the final designs for the windows and approving the full size layouts of the glass. He's arranged to go see a bloke called Steve and we are expecting a 5 minute meeting with him in a yard somewhere. Steve is only round the corner from Dave and he is a very fit chap who cannot be bothered to retire, used to be in the Army and shows us to his rather muddy pickup truck and we all jump in and off we go. Two minutes later we are at one of the three quarries he leases - yep that's right he has a 999 year leasehold on a piece of ground and is basically digging a hole. He has all sorts of machinery here and it's a very big hole - we try to drive to the bottom of the hole but there's so much water around that even in a 4 by 4 this is not going to work, so he eventually gives up and points out how embarrassing it would be to have to call one of his blokes to come tow him out. Now the side walls of the hole in the ground are very interesting, you can see the layers of Yorkstone and the different colours as you go deeper and we suddenly realise that, like slate, there are many different types of Yorkstone. Anyway Dave is enjoying the ride and sight seeing tour and we head off in the direction of four very battered shipping containers with the sides cut off them and dust EVERYWHERE. This is where the rivening part of the flooring gets done as opposed to something cut with a saw.

I mentioned earlier about having a machined underside, the reason for this is to get a consistent flat surface to lay on top of the under floor heating so the heat transfer works well. Looking at the handy work that Steve's lads can manage in terms of consistency of thickness it's obvious that if I leave them enough time they can produce 50mm thick flags for me that are very consistent in thickness and have a light riven texture across them. One of the piles of Yorkstone has loads of little circular patterns on the face of it and Steve jumps in with an instant geology lesson. Apparently hese are little sea creatures that have been fossilised as the sandstone sediment was laid down lord knows how many million years ago, with time on the our side we can select these out if we want to.

Back to Steve's office and we get a guided tour of his five stupidly big saws that are running 7 days a week and are used to cut six sided finished paving slabs and even though we have no use for these it's massively interesting just to see how you deal with cutting large volumes of paving, there is stone everywhere and we talk about where his stones been used and by whom. The list is massive, including the Houses of Parliament and Marshals the building merchants for their actual Yorkstone rather than the Indian sandstone I have at home.

Published Version

We collect a sample from Steve along with a cup of tea and he finishes the whole deal off by saying if we want to buy stone from him we need to handle his tarantula spider! Insane - free with every order a killer spider... Anyway we all spend the next 20 minutes watching the most amazing spider crawl over everybody. When I get back home I put all the samples I have next to each other and like slate it's pretty obvious which one is which. I impart my findings and hand over my samples to Sarah who is more than a bit interested, and we have found a supplier for our Nave floor.

Published Version

For more history and information related to St Bartholomew's visit