Since June 2017, I’ve been working with the Heavitree Squilometre Quarry Pod on ways of engaging with and celebrating the local quarries and Heavitree Stone.
When Steven Bramble suggested designing an alphabet of Heavitree Stone, I immediately thought of its potential use in an A-Z. I came across Placeify some years ago, powering Exeter University’s Sculpture Tour, and the two things came together as an idea for a trail.
“Q is for Quarries” is an A-Z trail that allows people to discover the red skeleton of Exeter. Heavitree Stone was particularly important during the mediaeval period, and it was used in many of Exeter’s most distinctive buildings.
We thought it might allow people to discover the Stone in their own way. Some might follow the whole alphabet. There’s a challenge for a day out in Exeter! Or I thought that people could create their own trails, like spelling out their own names.
Of course, it had to be called “Q is for Quarries”, as everything begins there and (for the purposes of Working with Gold) because they are in St Loyes!
The survey work that had already done by the Quarry Pod meant that we could identify sites for most of the letters. I had to be a little bit creative with some, such as J, Y and Z! I wanted to get a good spread across the city and across the centuries. I wanted too not just the pretty buildings, but a good mix of types of structures – churches, houses, infrastructure, etc – and examples that illustrate different stone qualities and finishing, how it has been re-used, and how it weathers. Each site needed to tell its own story about the use of this material.
Some juggling later, and a few visits just to make sure that stone was definitely breccia and not sandstone, and I had my list. So now CLARE (to take a random example!) will take me to St Clare’s Chapel (of course!), St Loye’s Chapel, St Anne’s Church, Rougemont Castle, and St Edmund’s on the Old Exe Bridge.
All that remained was to do all the historical and other research, write 200-300 words on each site, record the script, take photos so we definitely knew we had copyright, make a marker icon for each in the Heavitree Stone font, upload it all onto Placeify, write and record the introduction, and create the Placeify header and icons!
Thanks go to Chris Spinks for his photos of the further-flung sites, and to 1010 Media for developing the Placeify platform, in particular Andy Chapman for his support. Here are some of the other Placeify trails in Exeter: