Pair of rainwater hoppers

Ref: 2147
  • Designer

    Perhaps designed by A.W.N. Pugin (1812–52), for Charles Barry (1795–1860)

  • Detail

    Cast iron
    113 × 45 × 45 cm (max.)
    English (Birmingham or London), 1844

  • Provenance

    Palace of Westminster (1844-circa 1980); […]; with Molly and Maud’s Place, 2018

  • Notes

    Pugin initially worked with Barry on designs for the Palace of Westminster in 1836 and 1837, but then was not involved again until June 1844; see Alexandra Wedgwood, ‘The New Palace Westminster’ in Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright (eds), Pugin, London, 1994, p. 223. The date on the rainwater hoppers makes it not unlikely that they are to a Pugin design*, but in the apparent absence of further documentation, it is not possible to be certain.

    Identical rainwater hoppers survive on parts of the Palace to this day, catching water from the old and rusting guttering. The water flows down equally deteriorating cast iron pipes, sometimes through ‘corner’ hoppers such as these, directly into the stonework. Leaks are causing severe internal damage and remedial work is part of the ongoing restoration covering the whole of the parliamentary estate. For a rectangular rainwater hopper (dated 1845) and a corner example (dated 1844) in situ, see a short video: Palace of Westminster: Making the building watertight at www.restorationandrenewal.parliament.uk (scroll to 2:42 minutes).

    A larger ‘double-width’ rainwater hopper dated 1845, with the same provenance, is in an English private collection. A smaller corner example, dated 1845, is in another English private collection.

    *Alexandra Wedgwood has suggested that Pugin might well be the designer, and Hardman the manufacturer. Research was incomplete at the time of going to press.