'Vampire Rabbit', St Nicholas Church Yard

  • Description

    "The 'Vampire Rabbit' is a local name for the sculptured rabbit (or hare) that sits above the rear doorway of the ornate, Cathedral Buildings [[1732979]] facing St Nicholas' churchyard. It was painted black in 2008 http://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlelibraries/4084793029/ and has a manic expression, oversized, red, canine teeth and red claws. Its provenance and significance are unknown, but possibly an original feature of the building built in 1901. http://www.twsitelines.info/node/110961 A little research of mine, may suggest a possible freemason connection; the rabbit being actually a HARE. Perhaps the architect of the Cathedral Buildings, William H Wood (fl. 1889-1939), a specialist in ecclesiastical architecture, was honouring (or mocking) Sir George HARE Philipson (1836-1918), physician of Newcastle Royal Infirmary (providing the 'vampire' association) and founder of the University of Durham Masonic Lodge (in London) in 1903. The Master of Norman Lodge in Co Durham in 1909 was one William Henry Wood, although I have been unable to determine if this was actually the architect. Church Plans Online http://www.churchplansonline.org/ does indicate that the architect's middle name was also Henry. A visit by Sir George Hare Philipson to Norman Lodge in 1900 is also recorded http://www.normanlodge.org.uk/history.htm Wood's plans and drawings are collected at Durham University Library - perhaps he tells us in there http://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/collection_information/cldload/?collno=162 Hares appear to have other masonic symbolism, so it's a good story and there has been no other to date. Freemason conspiracy theories are all the rage after all. What goes against this theory of mine sadly are some old photos I've just found (November 2010) when it clearly looked more like a rabbit http://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlelibraries/4081934039/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlelibraries/4084793029/ The ears seem to have extended somewhat since the late 1980s." Photo by Andrew Curtis, 2010.
  • Owner

    Andrew Curtis
  • Source

    Geograph (Geograph)
  • License

    What does this mean? Creative Commons License
  • Further information

    Link: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1682338
    Resource type: Image
    Added by: Simon Cotterill
    Last modified: 1 year, 1 month ago
    Viewed: 59 times
    Picture Taken: 2010-01-24
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