Jamie's Notes

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Springhead Pumping Station

I had to take my car for its annual safety check this morning, so enjoyed a walk home along a couple of miles of the former Hull to Barnsley railway track. It was a blissfully quiet, the only other person on my route being a harried dog walker, minus her dog who had decided it would be more fun to go on a solo walkabout.

The route winds past Springhead Pumping Station – constructed in 1864 to provide the growing city with clean drinking water and still providing us with 25 million litres a day from the aquifer deep below.

I find buildings interesting. They raise a lot of questions. Who built it, and why? Why did they choose those materials and build it in the way that they did? Well designed buildings have the power to make you feel good about the place you are in, poorly designed ones do the opposite.

This is a beautiful building, constructed in red and yellow brick with large arched windows and an octagonal lantern perched atop a square tower. It was once open as a museum but closed when Yorkshire Water became paranoid about poisoning of the water supply, and nowadays it’s surrounded by vast amounts of fencing and enormous security gates. It would once have been visible for miles around, but it’s impossible to get a good look at the building now.

This picture from Chris Pepper shows it from inside the grounds:

Credit to Chris Pepper

The Victorians didn’t mess around when designing municipal buildings.

An early walk

We forced ourselves out of the house early today, before lassitude sets in, and walked a couple of miles around Welton Vale – not strenuous, but enough that we can say that we have done something.

Our journey took us past the Raikes Mausoleum, which we saw on our visit last year. In the intervening time, a large hole has appeared – big enough for a small person to climb in and down to the crypt. I’m not sure what you would find down there. I’m also not sure that I would like to find out.

Raikes Mausoleum

It’s a real shame to see it fall into disrepair. There are, according to the experts, very few mausoleums of this type left – and the Raikes family has an interesting history.

The ground floor was sealed up in the 1960s after repeated break-ins and desecration, and will probably stay that way. There isn’t any information online about the interior. This listing on Historic England describes the exterior:

Mausoleum. 1818 for Sir Robert Raikes. Limestone ashlar. Circular plan: probably a copy of a Roman model. Tall single storey on basement. Rusticated base with segmental openings to basement. Eight steps to sealed, rendered and lined doorway in architrave: scrolled brackets to projecting cornice over frieze of bay leaves and garlands. Over the door is a corniced panel with the inscription “AEDIFICAVIT ROBERTUS RAIKES ARMIGER AD MDCCCXVIII”. Around the building are 8 Doric pilasters dividing it into bays: each alternate bay blind. Other bays have projecting panels with cornice and blocking course carrying sarcophagi in low relief: above are ventilation holes in sunk corniced panels. Frieze of triglyphs and guttae: Doric cornice, blocking course, and stepped ashlar dome. The building is enclosed by a circular flagged area defined by a dwarf wall, once carrying iron railings (now removed).


Diving Belle

The statue is named ‘Diving Belle’ and represents the beginning of Scarborough’s popularity as a destination for bathers. She stands outside the old lighthouse, looking out to the sea.