The Memory Stones

Interpreting Portland’s unique landscape in stone
The ‘Memory Stones’ create a new arrival point to Tout Quarry Sculpture Park & Nature Reserve and the Wider Portland Quarries Nature Park; a network of abandoned and disused quarries that are packed full of wildlife, heritage, and industrial archaeology.
‘Memory Stones’ is  the work of  artist Hannah Sofaer, MA (RCA) who has selected  large stones from Portland Stone Firms Ltd and Albion Stone plc open cast quarries  that will connect to audio visual recordings that she has made of Portland’s Quarry environment, people and skills of working with stone;  to form an additional layer of memory overlaid on the landscape and its geology.
Photo by Scott Irvine of the “First sunset over the Memory Stones”


The stones were installed  by Paisley Plant Hire Ltd. and  Ralph Stone, who has a lifetime of experience of quarrying, with skills that go back to the time of Sir Christopher Wren.
The stones are aligned to the passage of the sun, the summer and winter solstice and spring and autumn equinox to create shadows up to 30 metres, and  frame views to the ecology, geology, art, architecture, archeology and quarrying history of the landscape.

1. North West Stone-Looks back to World Heritage Coast.   Aligns with Mid Summer Sunset over Golden Cap on 21st June .
2. West Stone-Looks back to Lyme Bay to the Triassic  – Aligns with the sunset of the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
3.  West South West – Looks across the Ocean to South America.  Records the life in the ocean.
4.  South West – Looks to the Geomorphology of the original land surface and  jointing structure of the Gullies that run  xxxx  the Island. Aligns with Mid Winter Sunset on 21st December.
5. South South West -Looks to  Architecture  – the tower of St Georges Church inspired by St Paul’s Cathedral.
6. South –  Looks across to the tunnel that connects Tout to Inmosthay Quarry and the wider  Portland Quarries Nature Park. Tout means ‘Lookout’ and the quarry overlooks Chesil Beech  and was once one of  over 100 working quarries on the island all worked by hand.  The shadow from the stone at noon on Mid Summers Day is 2 meters long and Mid Winters Day 13.4 meters.
7.  South South East-Archaeology  with references to  the early settlements of St Andrews at Church Ope, the Mesolithic site at Culverwell.
8. South East-Lichens early pioneer species.   Aligned on Spring Equinox 2017 to  Outdoor Performance Environment at Church Ope. North edge aligns with Mid Winter Sunrise.
9. East South East-Orchids, Butterflies and Insects – early life forms in the succession for regeneration of quarries.
10. East – Plant Species 500 with 125 used for culinary and herbal remedies.   Aligns directly East with the sunrise at the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
11. East North East- Vertebrates small mammals and reptiles.
12. North East – Migratory birds. The North face of the stone is aligned with the Mid Summer Sunrise and captures the light of the northern most travel of the sun at daybreak throughout the year.
This first phase of the project will connect with new cultural routes and re-engage Royal Academy artists including Antony Gormley, whose work  made in 1983 helped to save the quarry  from further mineral extraction.  Artists residencies will  contribute to routes through the quarry that connect  the stones geology  to a wider local and global significance relating  to past  and current environments and  climate change today.
An open day  hosted by PSQT /DWT on the 21st June will feature new choreographed dance by students from the local Academy School using the passage of light across the stones  at Midsummers Day, with performance, and  presentation on next stage of the project.


The project has been funded by Arts Council England, Department for Communities & Local Government, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust, Worshipful Company of Masons, Portland Court Leet, Dorset County Council Divisional Fund. Portland Masonic Lodge and Trewint Ltd.


Support has been given by Portland Stone Firms Ltd,  Albion Stone plc, Paisley Plant Hire Ltd with Lewis Paisley skilfully operating a 90 Ton crane to position the stones, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, Portland Stone Ltd who carried out the access groundworks, ASTUDIO architects for the sunpath model and Eagle Vista Aerial Imaging.