“Coade Stone” was a popular building material in the 18th and 19th centuries, often used for intricate ornamental mouldings because of its durable and hard-wearing nature. Despite the name, it isn’t natural stone but an artificial ceramic that was moulded rather than sculpted. It was named after its inventor, Eleanor Coade (1733–1821), who owned and managed a large factory in Lambeth—quite a feat for a woman in those male-dominated times. In 1784 she acquired Belmont House in Lyme Regis, which she used as a summer residence.
The photograph shows an example of Coade stone on display in Lyme Regis Museum. This is one of the two gate piers that flanked the entrance to Belmont in Pound Street. The picture below is a watercolour painted by L. Meux in the 1920s or 30s, showing the gate piers in situ outside Belmont House.
As mentioned in a previous post, the status of Belmont is currently at risk, and it was made the subject of an appeal by the Landmark Trust.