The statue on the south face of the Bargate is of King George 111 (1738-1820.

His head is on the body of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a common practice for statues at the time. It was based on Hadrian’s statue in the British Museum and is still in excellent condition.

It dates from 1809 and was presented by the 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne. His father had been Prime Minister and his half-brother became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Lansdowne spent the final years of his life living in Southampton, then at the peak of its spa town popularity.

He built a mock castle and there is still a Lansdowne House in Castle Lane.

The Coade stone statue was placed on the south front of the Bargate, replacing a wooden statue of Queen Anne which was taken down and kept in the Bargate where it still remains.

The statue was made in a factory owned by Eleanor Coade (1733 – 1821) a British businesswoman who succeeded in a male dominated world.


Coade statue of George 111 at the south side of the Bargate.

Coade statue of George 111 at the south side of the Bargate.


She became well known for manufacturing sought after statues and other ornaments made of Lithodipyra or Coade stone.

The twice fired Lithodipyra was a high-quality, durable, weather-resistant, ceramic stone.

Statues and decorative features made from this still look almost new today.

Eleanor Coade did not invent artificial stone but she perfected the process. She was the first and only person to succeed in the artificial stone business.


The High Street below the Bargate early 1800’s.

The High Street below the Bargate early 1800’s.


Eleanor combined high-quality manufacturing and artistic taste, together with entrepreneurial, business and marketing skills, to create the overwhelmingly successful stone products of her age.

By the 1760s, Eleanor Coade was running her own business as a linen draper in the City of London. As was customary for unmarried women in business at the time, she used Mrs as her title.

In 1769, Eleanor Coade, then 36, acquired a struggling artificial stoneware business on a site now occupied by the Royal Festival Hall and lived there. The ceramic product was marketed as “Coade’s Lithodipyra”, for the next 50 years.

In 1784 an uncle, Samuel Coade, gave her Belmont House in Lyme Regis. She decorated the house extensively with Coade stone. Author John Fowles who wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman lived there from 1968 to 2005.


The Lansdowne Castle.

The Lansdowne Castle.


Around 1780 Coade was commissioned by King George III to make the Gothic screen of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

In 1784 she created a comprehensive catalogue of 746 designs produced by the company. It included statues, busts, whole panels, friezes, coats of arms, balusters, furniture, interior ornaments and more.

As ceramic moulds could be reused this led to high efficiency in production. She also opened a large showroom, Coade’s Gallery, at the end of Westminster Bridge Road to display her products.

Coade stone works also include the original Twinings tea shop on the Strand, the South Bank Lion on Westminster Bridge, the Nelson Pediment at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich (the mural above the terrace’s main entrance was reckoned by the Coade workers as the finest of all their work), the statue of George 111 on the seafront at Weymouth, The Royal Pavilion in Brighton and the crest on the Imperial War Museum.

The business continued to be successful after Coade’s death and produced a large quantity of stoneware used in the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.


Lansdowne House.

Lansdowne House.


The statue of Prince Albert that once stood by the east wall of God’s House Tower in Southampton is also thought to have been made with Coade stone.

Her success may be gauged by Josiah Wedgewood’s complaint that he “could not get architects to endorse his new chimney-piece plaques”.

The remarkable Eleanor Coade, a devout Baptist, died in November 1821 in Camberwell, London. Her obituary notice declared her ‘the sole inventor and proprietor of an art which deserves considerable notice’.

She is commemorated by the horse-mill stone used in her factory, placed under Westminster Bridge by the footpath to Royal Festival Hall, which now occupies the site of her factory.


SeeSouthampton logo.

SeeSouthampton logo.


Martin Brisland is a tour guide with .