Portland stone is limestone from the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively throughout the UK, notably in major public buildings in London such as St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. It is also exported to many countries - Portland stone is used in the United Nations building in New York, for example.
All gravestones for British soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars are made out of Portland stone. However these began to weather and detail such as the regimental badges were becoming difficult to view and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission began to use botticino a white marble limestone from about 1998.
Three main "Portland Beds" are quarried. The Base and Whitbed beds are fine textured and contain few fossil remains, and so are popular for high quality work. The Roach bed is rougher with many fossils and its stone is notably used in the Cobb, at nearby Lyme Regis, Dorset.
The Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust was formed in 1983. The Trust is dedicated to preserving a knowledge and understanding of stone and the landscape from which it comes.