Sunday 2 February 2014

Railway relief

This elegant piece of railway cast-iron comes from Curthwaite Station on the Maryport & Carlisle Railway. Its purpose may not be obvious at first, but it is in fact a single-stall urinal. (One suspects, or hopes, that Curthwaite was not a terribly busy station - contrast this with the five-stall 'Temple of Relief' outside Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter station.) Although there is no founder's name cast into the urinal, it is believed to come from the famous Sun Foundry, Glasgow. 

While a urinal might sound like a very unglamorous piece of street (or platform) furniture, the details on this one are lovely. The elegant spiralling shape, the botanic decoration, the dog-head spout all ensure it transcends its rather prosaic purpose. 

Curthwaite Station was closed in 1950; its station building and water tower remain. The urinal meanwhile, is now in the Station Hall of the National Railway Museum, York. It looks splendid if intriguing in its new museum home.


The Greenockian said...

Amazingly decorative!

Ralph Hancock said...

Do you think the dog's head gargoyle is an ironic comment on what was going on inside? It mist have looked rather striking when rain was falling.

Hels said...

Well done, Curthwaite! There is no reason why a urinal should be boring and merely functional. I have seen complete sewage pumping stations that were beautifully decorated.

CarolineLD said...

Isn't it wonderful!

Ralph, I wonder if it is - it doesn't really seem to fit into the general decorative theme.

Hels, my favourite Victorian sewage pumping station is Crossness, 'cathedral of sewage', which is just glorious.