THE BROOKING NATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL MUSEUM

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Rainy days (right) this selection of rainwater heads ranges from a fine lead example of the late 18th century to a red Gothic example originally designed by George Edmund Street. This example was discovered on the 1867 section of Brookwood Hospital, Knaphill, Surrey, during demolition.                                           

Here’s looking at you (below) this gargoyle was cast in three sections and produced by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Works in Glasgow. It came from a circa 1898 building adjoining the Sutton Arcade in South London. The foundry produced a wide range of designs.                                                                            

A galvanised cast iron rainwater head (left) probably designed by Harrison Townsend and dated 1911.

Utilitarian glazed ceramic rainwater head (below left) 1906, from the laboratory block of the Imperial Institute, Kensington, London. Designed by the architect Sir Aston Webb.

Old ways with wet weather

The rainwater head (hopper) is often a beautiful and decorative object in its own right, and sometimes extremely heavy. Its development is charted from the lead varieties of the 17th century through to the complex and diverse cast-iron designs of the second half of the 19th century. Simple designs of the 1950’s, and the early PVC prototypes of the 1960’s, right up to the present day, are also in The Collection. Down-pipes and gutter profiles are also featured.

This late 18th to early 19th century copper rainwater head (left) was, probably, originally painted.

Circa 1950’s asbestos rainwater head (below) Asbestos rainwater goods, with their lower maintenance needs, were generally used on industrial and agricultural buildings.

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