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Tyne and Wear HER(7619): Blaydon, Summerhill, Cowen Fountain - Details

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Blaydon, Summerhill, Cowen Fountain



Water Supply and Drainage


Early Modern



A substantial stone structure constructed for the residents of Blaydon {2}. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This fountain was one of two (along with X20/LL/227) 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. It apparently previously stood outside the Black Bull public house, and was fitted with a lamp fuelled by gas piped from Cowen’s lower yard firebrick manufactory (opened in 1838), which produced this gas as a by-product. This would have been an extremely convenient place to access. The road layout was changed in 1890, necessitating its removal to the current location. The fountain is constructed in sandstone, and is square on plan, with curved basins forming ‘apses’ to each side, originally supplied by 2 spouts. It stands on a platform, with a simple chamfered plinth to the base, and a centrepiece carved plaque in a simply moulded inset with plain surround. The plaque is unfortunately very weathered, but appears to bear the Cowen family arms, set in a window panel, with floreate detail embellishing the frame. A massive pyramidal cap with ball finial surmounts the fountain, with the date carved beneath. The monument has been restored, with the jambs to the front apparently replaced, as well as the datestone. 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 Fact Sheet X20/LL/255; Gateshead Council, 1999, Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Strategies and Character Statements, Path Head Conservation Area, p 55

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