NZ2564 : 'Vampire Rabbit', St Nicholas Church Yard

taken 8 years ago, near to Gateshead, Great Britain

'Vampire Rabbit', St Nicholas Church Yard
'Vampire Rabbit', St Nicholas Church Yard
The 'Vampire Rabbit' is a local name for the sculptured rabbit (or hare) that sits above the rear doorway of the ornate, Cathedral Buildings NZ2564 : Cathedral Buildings, Dean Street facing St Nicholas' churchyard. It was painted black in 2008 LinkExternal link 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.
LinkExternal link (Archive LinkExternal link )
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 LinkExternal link 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 LinkExternal link
Wood's plans and drawings are collected at Durham University Library - perhaps he tells us in there LinkExternal link
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 LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link The ears seem to have extended somewhat since the late 1980s.
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NZ2564, 797 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Sunday, 24 January, 2010   (more nearby)
Submitted
Thursday, 28 January, 2010
Category
Architectural detail > Architectural detail   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 2504 6404 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:58.2213N 1:36.6233W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 2503 6403
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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