Work begins to restore historic fountain in Staindrop
WORK has begun to restore a historic fountain that provided clean drinking water for people in Staindrop during Victorian times.
The ornate water pump, which is a major feature on the village green, was gifted to Staindrop by Lady August Mary Poulett in memory of her sister Sophia and her husband Henry, the Duchess and Duke of Cleveland, in 1865.
Since then it has suffered significant damage and previous generations have haphazardly repaired some of the fine stone with brickwork.
Earlier this year Staindrop Parish Council secured cash from Raby Estate, County Durham Community Foundation and Teesdale Action Partnership to restore it to its original condition.
Cllr Ed Chicken, from the parish council, said: “It is going to cost about £10,000. This is a conservation area and if we don’t conserve what we have, we are not doing our job.
“The supply of fresh drinking water was very important in Victorian times. In other parts of the world it is still a major issue, hence we have charities like WaterAid UK.
“Perhaps we don’t take it [fresh water] seriously enough.”
Last week scaffolding was placed around the fountain to allow nationally renowned stonemasons Stone Technical Services to dismantle its eight sections.
Graham Stone, from the Darlington-based company, said a historic photograph would be used to replace a decorative sandstone piece that is missing from the top of the structure.
He added: “The cylindrical red sandstone sections will be replaced with new stone. The rest will be doffed clean, which takes off the carbonisation and grime.”
Also in need of replacement are some of the fleur-de-lis ornaments, he said.
Cllr Chicken added that the metal mechanisms of the pump had expanded over the years causing the lower red sandstone section to crack down the middle.
He said: “If we didn’t do anything, it would eventually fall over.”
Regarding the technical challenges of the job Mr Stone said: “We took the bells out of St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, 18 months ago, so it is small by comparison. But it is a nice job.”
The company, which was started by Mr Stone and his brother David 21 years ago, is also currently replacing the ornate chimney stacks on the Royal Courts of Justice.
The Staindrop restoration is expected to take several weeks to complete and Mr Stone said materials would be sourced locally, including from nearby Dunhouse Quarry and Calvert Architectural Stone in Leyburn.