A QUARRY in which convicts once hammered red granite could be set for a major expansion.
Breedon Aggregates wants to extend Stirling Hill Quarry at Boddam, near Peterhead.
The move is aimed at allowing for an extra 2.5 million tonnes of mineral resources to be produced in the North-east.
If plans are approved and 120,000 tonnes continue to be extracted every year, it is hoped the quarry could be in use until 2042.
The quarry currently has a concrete plant and an asphalt plant supplying construction materials across the North-east.
The first quarry at Stirling Hill opened in 1815 and there have been 11 separate quarries on the hill since.
The construction of a gigantic breakwater across Peterhead Bay began in 1884 to convert it into a harbour that would be secure in all weather.
A railway was built between the Admiralty Quarry at Stirling Hill and Peterhead Prison to transport prison labour and granite.
Convicts used hammers to crush red granite which was mixed with concrete and great blocks were then cast in workshops beside the prison and the project was eventually completed in 1956.
It is thought the red Peterhead granite produced at the quarry was included in the creation of the original fountains of Trafalgar Square.
The Duke of Wellington Statue at Buckingham Palace also stands on a pedestal of Peterhead granite, thought to have been linked to Stirling Hill.