Lampert, Win (b.1914)

Ernest Lampert, Win’s late husband, was born in 1900. Ernest was a stonecutter at Lampert’s quarry at Higher Brooks Road, Street. His father bought a field and orchard in about 1900 and quarried blue lias stone from it.  His two sons, Ernest and Reg, worked in the quarry until it closed in the late '50s.


The stone was dug out by hand transported around Somerset by horse and cart, lorry, and train. The men worked all year around but were unable to work in wet weather, because the slippery stone became impossible to lift.

William Pursey’s Quarry in Street. A small quarry similar to the Lampert enterprise. William Pursey’s Quarry in Street. A small quarry similar to the Lampert enterprise.
Sound File
Listen to Win Lampert - 1.81MB Duration 3:57 min.

AH: Did the stone have to be worked very much after it was dug out?


WL: Oh yes, it had to be shaped into proper building stones, you know, because they all got to be the same size, haven’t they?


AH: What size were they?


WL: What size was that?


MR: I suppose they were what, 12 to 16 inches.


WL: And about that thick.


MR: It’s about eight inches thick.


AH: Oh, so there was quite a lot of work involved?


WL: Oh yes, quite a lot of work.


MR: Yes, because they would break them down with a pickaxe, wouldn’t they, to get them a reasonably workable size.


WL: Of course they had to be careful when they were doing them, not to er chip out more than they should do else it spoilt the stone completely.  They had to be accurate in what they did.


AH: So they were very skilled?


WL: Yes, they had to be very skilled, didn’t they?


MR: Yes, in their way.


WL: It would soon spoil a stone.


MR: Yes, well the surface is always, is slightly dented, isn’t it, all the way along.


WL: I wonder why they called it blue lias stone.


AH: It’s because geologically that’s the name of the stone.


WL: That’s just the name of it.


AH: Yes, it was in this region.


WL: Yes, that’s right.  I don’t know if all the quarries had this blue lias stone, did they?


AH: I’m not sure.


WL: I don’t fancy they did because it was usually from Lampert’s quarry that the blue lias came from.


MR: Certainly a lot of it did come from there, but I don’t know what the others were.


WL: I don’t know the others were.


AH: And were they always called quarrymen, the men that worked in the quarries?


WL: Yeah, quarrymen.


AH: So what about, what are stonecutters?  Do you know what that term means?


WL: My husband was a stonecutter.


MR: But was he, was he not just called a quarryman?  He had a special tool?


WL: No, he was called a stonecutter.


MR: He was?


WL: Yeah.


MR: Did Granddad have a name?


WL: Yeah, stonecutter.  They were all stonecutters because they cut the stone.  The quarrymen used to dig it out.


MR: I see.


WL: And the stonecutters used to cut it into bricks and whatever.


AH: What about masons?  Do you know what work they did?


WL: No, I don’t think they had any of them there.  They didn’t have any masons up there.


MR: Perhaps, did a mason sculptor things?


WL: Masons, yeah, they do, don’t they, but I don’t think it was anything to do with the quarries.


MR: It’s not a name I’ve heard in that connection with the quarry, no, but then I’ve only heard them called quarrymen.  I didn’t realise they were...


WL: Yes, stonecutter Ern was, and that was on my wedding certificate when we got married.


MR: Was it?


WL: He was a stonecutter, yes.  Of course, his father taught him the work; he taught Reg too.  They both learnt it from him.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in November 1989. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.