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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Building made from Dover cliffs
Builder James Bellamy with a chalk wall
Builders say the chalk walls are 'really solid'
Chalk from the White Cliffs of Dover is being used to construct a building - for what is thought to be the first time in a century.

Ancient methods used in the creation of the Great Wall of China are being used to build a new conference centre on the cliffs at St Margaret's Bay.

The chalk is firmly compressed, meaning it can be held together without the need for cement.

Experts claim the reduced transport use makes it environmentally friendly.

'Really solid'

Similar compression methods were used to press together earth in the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Builder James Bellamy said: "The chalk we've used to construct the building is from under where we're standing.

"What we've done is use that material to construct the walls by compressing it really hard and the surface of the wall is really solid."

Alastair Gould of the St Margaret's Bay Trust said: "Thinking in an organic way, we thought let's work with what we've got right here.

"In fact it looks beautiful as a finished material and it's relatively straight forward to work with."



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