Ok so its not a rock, but its close...
This specimen was found on the beach at Par near St Blazey, Cornwall. We think its a furnace brick covered with a layer of slag. Look how similar it is to the vesicular basalts in the UK Virtual Microscope Collection. Note also the thin white layer in contact with the brick. What is it, and why is it there? Answers on a postcard please!
Par was a hive of activity during the industrial revolution because of its harbour. With many mines in the area, Par became an important focus for industry, and St Blazey also played its part with mineral railways, a canal, engineering works and William West's Foundry (1848-1890). We would like to think our specimen came from West's foundry, but have yet to confirm this.
Cabinets of curiosities were personal collections of natural and man-made objects displayed in a single cabinet.
It was a fashion that reached its peak in the seventeenth Century, but something that is returning in modern times as uncategorised virtual or travelling physical exhibits, sometimes crowd sourced and changing. The original cabinets of curiosities were the personal and often idiosyncratic collections of wealthy owners, and their main function was to provoke a sense of curiosity and wonder in the viewer. Our Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection of curious things that we came across in museums, and a few things we've found in mineral shows. There isn't a learning objective – they're just interesting.