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Tyne and Wear HER(7620): Gateshead, Sunderland Road, drinking fountain - Details

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Gateshead, Sunderland Road, drinking fountain



Water Supply and Drainage


Drinking Fountain

Early Modern



This elaborate drinking fountain must have been provided for the Recreation Ground, as it is situated at the entrance, almost certainly established around 1895 from the same land as that from which the new cemetery extension was carved. It may have been provided by the Rector of Gateshead, as was the one on Old Durham Road on the other side of the cemetery, implied by the religious legend: ‘Add to thy faith virtue and to virtue temperance’, and the fact that originally the other fountain also had such a legend. The nature of the materials and fittings is also similar: a description in the Gateshead Observer refers to those of the former as ‘carried out in freestone, and fitted with a cast metal basin sunk into the stone with brass finishings’. The stepped corbel-like stone base to the basin resembles that of the much more worn one on Old Durham Road, but here the similarity ends. It is set in a low plinth wall and rises high above it, making it quite prominent, and is made up of 3 elements. The central section originally housed the tap, but only part of the backplate to this now remains, flanked by 2 decorative moulded stars, all in an inset panel. Above this, the crowning glory of the fountain is an extravagant hood moulding, with foliate carved springing points, and a mock keystone at the apex of the arch displaying a stylised acanthus leaf. The legend, partly engraved in raised banners, is enveloped in this, resting on a line of pyramid moulding. MATERIALS Sandstone, metal (iron & brass?) DATES c1895 The date has been gleaned from looking at the cemetery registers and noting when the numbered plots first appear (a plot plan of the cemetery, available at Cemeteries and Crematoria Reception, shows lettered plots and numbered plots, with the layout making it clear that the original plots were lettered, and those within the extension numbered). The later part of the cemetery was built on the site of Claxton’s farm, at the same time as the Recreation Ground was created, and presumably the remaining land sold for the housing on Wordsworth Street and the St James and St Bede Church. A plan of the bandstand for the Recreation Ground was found dated 1894, which would also confirm this date. Advertisements in the Gateshead Observer of the period may shed further light on the history of this fountain, or committee minutes relating to the establishment of the Recreation Ground (possibly CB.GA/34/3). LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/256; Gateshead Observer 2/8/1862

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