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Silver Railway Car Decanter Stand 

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Silver Railway Car Decanter Stand 

- Item No.

This sterling silver decanter stand is ingeniously designed in the form of a railway car

Key Features

  • This sterling silver decanter stand is ingeniously designed in the form of a railway car.
  • It was presented to Alderman William Holdsworth, Chairman of the Water Commission on July 13, 1904
  • The decanter commemorates the construction of the Nidd Valley Light Railway, at the Angram Reservoir
  • The railway's primary purpose was to carry materials and labor to reservoir construction sites
  • The piece bears the crest of the Borough of Bradford in the West Yorkshire area of Northern England
  • Dated 1904
  • Car: 18 Base 22

Item Details

  • Period:
    20th Century
  • Origin:
    England/Ireland
This rare and incredibly unique sterling silver decanter stand is ingeniously designed in the form of a railway car. The stand was presented to Municipal Alderman William Holdsworth, Chairman of the Water Commission, on July 13, 1904 at a ceremony of the cutting of the first sod for the construction of the Nidd Valley Light Railway, at the Angram Reservoir.  At the base of the stand is a commemorative plaque inscribed with Holdsworth name, the date and other important details of the occasion.

The finely decorated silver railway car bears the crest of the Borough of Bradford in the West Yorkshire area of Northern England. The iconography of the crest includes three bugles, a boars head, a well and roses, as well as the motto Labor Omnia Vincit (Work conquers all). The bugles recall the ancient custom of blowing the horn in the forenoon in the market place at Bradford. The boar's head refers to the legend of the boar of Cliffe Wood, a ferocious boar that drank from the well (later called Boar's Well) and the roses refer to Yorkshire. The railway car also bears the English hallmarks for sterling silver, the Birmingham assays office, and the date mark for 1904.

The Nidd Valley Waterworks commenced construction of their pipeline in 1893. The construction of the railway was a project of the Bradford Corporation Waterworks Department which took over construction of the railway in 1900 after the Nidd Valley Waterworks pipeline was finished.  As far as the Bradford Department was concerned, the railway's primary purpose was to carry goods, materials and labor to construction sites high in the Nidd valley, where two large reservoirs were built, one at Angram and one later at Scar House. The 6-mile stretch of line between Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse-in Nidderdale, however, was constructed under the terms of a pre-existing Light Railway Order of 1901 and taken over by the Bradford Corporation in 1904. This 1901 order obliged the Corporation to operate a public passenger service between those two places. Passenger stations were provided at Pateley Bridge, Wath, Ramsgill, and Lofthouse, which was the public passenger terminus of the line.

In July 1904 there were two ground breaking ceremonies to commence the building of the railway. One was at the construction site representing the passenger line between Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse and one was at the site of the Angram Reservoir. Sod was cut at both sites and at the Angram site Alderman William Holdsworth was presented with this handsome model railway truck in sterling silver standing upon a pair of silver rails. The gift was presented by Mr. John Best, head of the firm of Messrs. John Best and Sons of Edinburgh, who were the contractors for the railway.

 The plan for the railway was that it would carry passenger up until Lofthouse where it would then join the contractors line which would run to Angram. The reservoir at Angram was designed to hold 100 million gallons of water and was estimated to cost 400,000 English pounds. The Nidd Valley Light Railway was opened in 1907, was closed to passengers on the last day of 1929, and was closed completely in 1937.

Dated 1904

Measurements:
Car: 18"
Base 22"
References:

The Surveyor and Municipal and County Engineer, (Vol. XXVI) (July 1-December 30, 1904), London: St. Brides Press, pg.152
Journal of Gas Lighting, Water Supply, Gas Journal (Volume 87 LXXXVIII)( July - September 1904), London: Walter King, pg.212
Journal of Gas Lighting, Water Supply, Gas Journal (Volume 88 LLXXXVIII) (October - December 1904), London: Walter King, pg. 968

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