Historic leader heads, also known as conductor heads and hopper heads, number into the many thousands and can be seen in many countries around the world, especially throughout Europe. England has many examples of leader heads or hopper heads in many styles and several materials.
Historic English leader head styles include Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian with historic leader head materials being comprised mostly of lead and cast iron. They are wonderful examples of craftsmanship. Copper leader heads found throughout much of the rest of Europe and cast aluminum leader heads are slowly replacing the old lead and cast iron English designs seen in the pictures below.
Windsor Castle (Lead) Leeds Castle (Lead) Canterbury (Cast Iron)
These examples of historic leader heads are taken from famous castles and from Canterbury all in England. Many earlier leader heads were made from lead and had intricate designs. You can see the rose of England on the Windsor Castle leader head and a swan on the Leeds Castle leader head. Later leader heads were also made of cast iron like the Victorian design shown above at Canterbury. That same Victorian design is repeated on Canterbury’s downspouts and downspout brackets.
City Of Canterbury, England – Stamped 1775
Windsor Castle City Canterbury Leeds Castle
Windsor Castle – Leader Head and Figurine Rain Spouts
Town of Windsor Windsor Castle
Historic leader heads in the town of Windsor, England
Example of historic leader head faithfully replicated using copper
Rutland’s architectural craftsmen are able to take any historical leader head or architectural heritage conductor head or hopper head design and faithfully recreate it using copper or aluminum. A heavy-weight unfinished, pure copper, TIG welded copper leader head reproduction is of the highest quality, it will weather beautifully, blend in well with most historical building architecture, endure maintenance-free for many decades to come and also is an eco-friendly green choice for historical preservation or architectural restoration – renovation work.
Leader heads frequently are used as architectural features on buildings, providing both a decorative and functional purpose. Rain water collected by a rain gutter or roof scupper is fed into a leader head. Sometimes a downspout connected to a gutter system or even multiple downspouts will feed into a leader head. Downspouts, also referred to as downpipes or leaders, are the vertical pipes that carry rain water from a gutter or leader head down to the ground to drain into a water barrel, cistern, sewer or seep into the ground. Leader heads or conductor heads fed by a scupper (drain opening in a wall, parapet or edge of flat roof) are sometimes called scupper boxes.
Some parts of the world also use the term rainheads when referring to leader heads or rain collection boxes. Functionally leader heads serve several purposes. Leader heads serve as a collection box for multiple gutter downspouts to empty into and funnel those into one downspout leading down to the ground. Leader heads also mix air into the conductor to help eliminate back pressure or vacuum and promote heavy rain water flow through the downspouts.
Decoratively and visually, leaderheads also help break up lengths of downspout providing both architectural interest and elegance or panache. Leader heads are still specified by architects and featured by builders in modern architecture for public buildings, churches, fine custom homes and especially upscale architecture, usually pairing copper leader heads with elegant copper gutter systems. Historical leader head reproductions are very popular as are more modern designs. An assortment of sixty-seven historical and modern leader lead designs can be seen at Leader Heads- Conductor Heads by Rutland