Pulhamite – Pulham ‘stone’

The Pulhamite listed structures were installed by the new Lord of the Manor, Coles-Child, as part of his restoration and modernisation of the old Bishop’s Palace. The English Heritage listing is “It is a good and little-altered example of the artificial rock work (Pulhamite) produced in the mid-C19 by James Pulham’s firm, and it sits within a little-altered mid-C19 landscape setting, at the end of a lake and amidst trees.“.

Pulhams had invented an early form of concrete, which looks quite convincingly like rocks – but was much easier to install the shapes and forms that customer’s wanted. It became very fashionable – Sundridge Park paid the for more expensive installation, a gorge, that was top of the range as it included real fossils. Buckinham Palace has several, and Ramsgate installed a convincing cliff at Madeira Walk.

The basic structure was constructed from brickwork, and then the artisan would put a rendering of ‘pulhamite’ over the top, putting in rock-like layers and shapes as he plastered the render on – this was skilled job to make it look like genuine rock outcrops.

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