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Tyne and Wear HER(7595): Blaydon, Shibdon Dene, Cowen Drinking Fountain - Details

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Blaydon, Shibdon Dene, Cowen Drinking Fountain



Water Supply and Drainage

Water Supply Site

Drinking Fountain

Early Modern



Around 1860 Messrs. Joseph Cowen & Co. set up a water tank in Blaydon to hold 3000 gallons of water, which was piped to two fountains in the centre of Blaydon village. The Gateshead Observer of Saturday 28th April 1860 reported that the villagers had no proper water supply and that attempts by Mr Cowen jnr. To get the Local Government Act applies, where ratepayers would pay for improvements to the water supply and drainage had failed. The two fountains are now located at Summer Hill and Shibdon Dene. DESCRIPTION & SIGNIFICANCE This fountain was one of two (along with X20/LL/255) given to the people of Blaydon by Joseph Cowen MP. Prior to this there was no safe, reliable water supply to the area, and these were used for a long time until there was a full piped supply. It is a testament to the social concern of this important political reformer. The fountain is constructed in sandstone and is set within a short length of wall. It has a steep coped gable with an arched niche in which the fountain is set, feeding into a basin with a stone plinth to the base. Historic photographs from the Edwardian period show a large and extraordinary canopy over the fountain, constructed from latticed branches with a thatched roof, but unfortunately this no longer exists, and the fountain extensively vandalised. In order to safeguard the future of the fountain it is crucial for a solution to be found to this problem. MATERIALS Black pasture (?) sandstone DESIGNER George Burn (?) DATES 1860 (opened Whit Monday) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The type of sandstone and the designer are speculative, based on the use of these in the slightly later Garibaldi statue also commissioned by Cowen. LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/227; Ian Ayris, Peter Jubb, Steve Palmer and Paul Usherwood, 1996, A Guide to the Public Monuments and Sculpture of Tyne and Wear, p 40; Gateshead Council's Local List; Gateshead Council, April 1999, Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Strategies and Character Statements, Blaydon Bank Conservation Area, p 14

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