Gouache on paper 16x17" 1994
| This ancient petrol pump stood in Calverley's Yard, overlooking
School Hill, the Auction Mart, the Almshouses and Royal Oak - Bentham's
The building behind it was originally a wheelright's shop, and I'm told that on Market and Fair days the Green Smithy farrier would come down to town to shoe horses here in the yard, or under the arch in wet weather. Old photos show a wide assortment of carts and horses on School Hill, so trade was no doubt quite brisk.
This pump when new must have seemed quite alien, perhaps even a threatening object. I imagine newly-invented motor-vehicles stopping in the road below it, and pooping their horns for the lad with the hosepipe to come clattering down the steps to fill 'er up. Then gradually it became just part of the town furniture, until by the time I first saw it, it looked just like some extinct pagan idol, ignored and crumbling by the wayside.
One day in 1994 I got a sudden urge to paint its portrait. The following week it disappeared, and the wheelwright's was bulldozed for new housing. Whoever Calverley was, his Yard is much tidier now. I'm glad I caught it in time.
Bentham Old Hall Cottages