York Fountain

Location: Derby Park, Bootle

The drinking fountain was commissioned by the Bootle Health Committee to celebrate the royal marriage between the Duke and Duchess of York. It was erected in the grounds of Bootle Hospital in 1894.

This cast-iron drinking fountain, with four basins arranged around a tall ornate column, originally stood in the grounds of Bootle hospital. Due to increased traffic in the hospital grounds, it was relocated to Derby Park in 1935. The fountain was restored in 2008.

The fountain was manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry, and stands on a two tiered octagonal plinth. Casting number 19 was originally 10’ 10”which included a statue of Samson. The wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. A dedication shield records: Erected By Subscription / In / Commemoration Of The / Marriage Of / T.R.M / The Duke And Duchess Of York / On 6th July / 1893. Four tendrils protrude from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The terminal was a statue of Samson, which is no longer present.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

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Glossary

  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Joseph Levi Memorial Clock

Location: Coventry, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England

A memorial clock and drinking fountain, manufactured by the Lion foundry in Kirkintilloch, was erected in 1934 in honour of Joseph Levi, a local man who founded the Coventry Philanthropic Institution in 1854. The Society supported the working class during periods of unemployment and illness. It was a great success, supplying 5,000 quarts of soup and 540 loaves of bread in the first year, thanks to the members of the Society who made personal donations and organised fund raising to assist the needy.

Rising from a two tiered square plinth is a 15’ high pillar with attic base. At the base, rectangular inset panels contain a dedication plaque and two demi basins. As the column narrows four inset panels contain a second dedication plaque and a bust of Joseph Levi. An abacus supports Corinthian columns and inset arches with gables on four sides. The clock tower base is decorated with fish scale inlay. The clock, with faces pointing in all four compass directions, is surmounted by a fish scale dome with an orb and spire finial.

The north face contains: a plaque with dedication details, ‘Founder / Of The / Philanthropic Societies / In / Coventry / President / Ald. A.H. Drinkwater J.P.; a portrait bust with the inscription, ‘Joseph Levi'; and the date, ‘Erected / By / Public Subscription / 1934′.

The east face contains a demi basin and the inscription, ‘The Coventry Society / Founded 1854 / Chapel Fields Society / Founded 1888 / Farlsdon Society / Founded 1900 / Foleshill Society / Founded 1904′. A small stone step was made available beneath the basin to assist younger persons.

The west face contains a demi basin and the inscription, ‘Golden Cross Society / Founded 1859 / Hillfields Society / Founded 1888 / Stoke Society / Founded 1904 / Charterhouse Society / Founded 1925′.

The clock’s mechanical movement was replaced with an electric movement which corroded over time and caused it to seize. Although a beloved feature in the park, vandals defaced it with graffiti, and managed to throw a rim and tire onto the clock tower. The neglected structure fell into disrepair, and the council eventually encircled it with a fence as a safety precaution.

It was dismantled in 2011 and put into storage to allow the construction of the play area known as Dr. Dave Tick Tock Play Area. The Gosford Park and Stoke Park Residents Associations have petitioned the City Council to restore the clock. A campaign named ‘Time to Bring the Clock Back’ will assist the endeavour by organising fund raising events. A specialist company in Leicester was hired to examine the clock and prepare an estimate.

Glossary

  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

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Racedo Fountain

Location: Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina

In 1901 the British residents of Paraná donated a fountain to the city in commemoration of Queen Victoria, and their relationship with the Argentinian people. It was erected on the Boulevard Racedo in front of the railway station.

The drinking fountain was Casting #27 manufactured by Walter MacFarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was well suited for street crossings, squares, market places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

The structure provided a drinking trough for horses with a small basin for dogs at ground level. The trough was a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The central stanchion supported the structure which was seated on a circular plinth. A central fluted column was capped with a lamp and crown terminal. A shield on the post offered inscription: “The British residents of Entre Rios, the Municipality of Paraná, in commemoration of government of HM Queen Victoria, and in gratitude for the feeling shown by the Argentine people. Paraná, January 22, 1901.” Four projecting tendrils suspended cups allowing humans to drink from the spouting water whilst horses drank from the large basin.

The original lamp was probably replaced when electricity was introduced. The current lamp differs in shape and does not have a crown terminal.

Glossary

  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Hastings Clock

The clock tower drinking fountain in Rotherham, England was commissioned by James Hastings, a local businessman, to commemorate the coronation of George V and Queen Mary. Manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry of Glasgow, the 32 feet tower was installed in 1912 at Effingham Square, Rotherham.

The front of the octagonal pedestal offers a large drinking trough for horses supported by legs in the form of hooves and fetlocks. Receptacles for human consumption are supplied in the form of small basins with a trefoil art-form located between the basin and the tap above. Bands of quatrefoil fret are in each of the eight panels surrounding the pedestal. Seated above angled gables are eight commemorative panels, four of which are blank arch faceplates. Four panels are rectangular with a peaked terminal. An inscription on the panel at the front of the structure states, To Commemorate the / Coronation of / King George V / and / Queen Mary, and a panel on the side is inscribed, Presented By / James Hastings / of Rotherham.

A two tiered acroter supports an attic base with four slender columns from which decorative pendant lamps are suspended. The column capital supports a four sided clock bound by decorative spandrels. The acroteria is edged with elaborate scroll relief, and at each corner is an acorn finial, a symbol of life and immortality. The structure is surmounted with a decorative openwork corona terminating in a ball finial. A chiming bell cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough is suspended in the centre of the corona. The clock mechanism was made by John Mason of High Street, Rotherham.

During redevelopment of the area, the tower was relocated from Effingham Square to Walker Place in 1969. It was listed as a grade II historic building in 1986.

In 2013 restoration of the Hastings Clock by Calibre MetalWork included cleaning, repair and repainting of the cast iron structure; and clock restoration specialists Smith of Derby refurbished the physical clock and serviced the timing mechanism before it was returned to its original location in Effingham Square.

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Glossary
Acroter, flat base
Acroteria, an ornament placed on a flat base and mounted at the apex of the pediment
Attic base, a column base with two rings
Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
Corona, a crown
Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
Fret, running or repeated ornament
Gable, triangular portion of a wall between edges of a dual pitched roof
Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
Spandrel, the triangular space between two arches
Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes

Witches’ Well

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland.

Situated on the eastern corner of Edinburgh Castle Esplanade where it meets the Royal Mile, an inconspicuous drinking fountain is mounted on the wall. The location was once the reservoir that held the old town’s water supply. This fountain is known as the Witches’ Well.

In 1894, Sir Patrick Geddes, a philanthropist known for his innovative thinking in urban planning and sociology, commissioned his friend, John Duncan, to design a drinking fountain to be located on the west side of Castlehill Reservoir next to Ramsay Garden. Duncan was a famed artist who was influenced by Celtic myth and legend which is evident in the sculpture.

Mounted on a wall it consists of a rectangular protruding trough with a square back-plate. The relief contains the image of a Foxglove plant from the centre of which is a coiled snake intertwined around the head of Aesculapius, The God of Medicine, and his daughter Hygeia, the Goddess of Health.

The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today. Hygeia as the personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation represents hygiene. The Foxglove plant used medicinally can also be poisonous depending on dosage; and the image of the serpent imbued with wisdom is also acknowledged as evil. The symbolism of all represents good and evil.

There is some dispute as to whether the well is cast iron or bronze. A hole beneath the snake’s head spouted water. The upper left corner contains Roman Numerals equivalent to 1479, and 1722 is depicted in the bottom right (the period of the most prevalent persecution of witches in Scotland.) The bottom left displays the year of the sculpture and the sculptor’s initials: 18 (JD) 94. Two bolts on the upper corners differ in design and are Wiccan symbols of air and water.

The trough is sculpted on three sides. The font displays flora with roots beneath the earth and branches above. The left panel depicts the evil eye with frowning eyes and nose; the words ‘the evil eye’ are written below. The right side depicts a pair of hands holding a bowl with the words ‘hands of’ written above the bowl and ‘healing’ written below.

The plaque above the well was erected in 1912 and contains the inscription: This Fountain Designed By John Duncan RSA / Is Near The Site On Which Many Witches Were / Burned At The Stake. The Wicked Head And Serene / Head Signify That Some Used Their Exceptional / Knowledge For Evil Purposes While Others Were / Misunderstood And Wished Their Kind Nothing / But Good. The Serpent Has The Dual Significance / Of Evil And Of Wisdom. The Foxglove Spray Further / Emphasises The Dual Purpose Of Many Common Objects.

A local woman has undertaken the task of caring for the well and places flowers on a regular basis. A card can be seen in one of the photos which is a message recently written to those who died.

Persecution of Witches

Scotland’s King James VI believed that witchcraft was a form of Satanism and that anyone who possessed those abilities was tainted by the devil. As a result, in the 17th and 18th centuries, over 4000 alleged witches (mostly female) were put to death.

Witch trials were nothing more than a ritual with little evidence other than having a mole on the body, having red hair, or a malevolent neighbour who made the accusation of witchcraft. A hearing took place at the local church to gather evidence which was then forwarded to the High Court.

Torture, used to extract the truth and a confession, varied from sleep deprivation to hacking off breasts. If a witch refused to confess, it was seen as evidence that the Devil had her under his control. To garner absolute proof the accused was thrown into the Nor Loch (now Princes Street Gardens) with her left hand or thumb tied to her right foot, and her right hand or thumb tied to the left foot, leaving little hope of floating or treading water. If the accused sank (proof of innocence) a rope tied around her middle prevented drowning.

If the accused floated, she was classed as a witch, strangled and hung at the stake (the common belief that witches were burned alive is generally a myth.) The witch was then burned at a public spectacle at Castlehill, just below the castle.

On 25 June 1591, one of the most severe punishments was directed on Dame Euphane MacCalzean, who was accused of using a spell to destroy the ship of King James VI as it entered North Berwick. She was condemned to be ‘bound to a stake and burned in ashes, quick to the death.’

Scotland was Europe’s biggest persecutor of witches. By the end of the 17th century, witches were routinely hanged instead of being burned. The last hanging took place in 1728.

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Jubilee Clock Tower Fountain

Location: The Esplanade, Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

The foundation stone of the clock tower was laid in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The clock tower, built of local ashlar stone with a metal clock face and painted lead on a cast iron roof, was dedicated in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

A dedication is engraved into the stone: This Clock Tower Was Paid By / Subscription From /The Lord Of The Manor And / The Inhabitants Of Shanklin / To Commemorate The / Diamond Jubilee Of / Queen Victoria 1897. The Clock tower was listed a grade II historic building in Feb 1992.

The drinking fountain was manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry. Casting #15 is set into the south face of the tower. The wall mounted fountain with a fluted demi basin is 2’ 9” high. An arch faceplate bears the inscription “Keep the Pavement dry”. Two doves represent the symbolism of the spirit drinking from the water of life. The tap protrudes from a shell lunette which is repeated in the fluted basin. A single drinking cup was originally suspended on a chain.

Glossary

  • Ashlar: finely cut stone
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

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Alexandra Fountain

Location: Alexandra Park, Crosby, Liverpool, Merseyside, England

Alexandra Park was formally opened in December 1902. Although not an optimum month for opening festivities, officials were eager to open it during the Coronation year. The park was named as it was adjacent to Alexandra Road, and also in honour of Queen Alexandra and her coronation in August. A park access road was named Coronation Road.

The drinking fountain was installed in the park in 1903, and little more is known about the history of this drinking fountain. It was restored in 2009 by Sefton Council as part of National Love Parks Week. The project was led by Sefton Park Rangers and assisted by many local volunteers including the Seaforth Information Network Group. The fountain was repainted in the original colour scheme of black and gold, and as the water feature no longer worked the basins were planted with trailing plants.

Purchased from Glasgow’s Saracen Foundry casting number 19 is 10’ 10” high. The wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils protruding from the column once suspended drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, casting #150, a female figure that originally held a leaf above her head.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

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Gentleman Fountain

Location: West Bridge Street & Hope Street, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Patrick Gentleman, and his brother John, owned a local drapery business at 85 High Street. Upon his demise he left a sum of money for the erection of an ornamental drinking fountain in the burgh. When new sheriff courthouses were built at the west end it was decided to erect the fountain on the vacant space between the south end and the public road.

The fountain was handed over in 1871 by Baillie John Gentleman, the sole executor of his late brother, to Provost Russel and the other magistrates, on behalf of the town.

In 1898, County Buildings, which were previously on Bank Street, had been built on the west corner of Hope Street. The fountain remained at this junction until 1923 when it was removed to allow construction of tramlines. The fountain no longer exists and is categorized as Lost.

Casting number 2 was manufactured by the Sun Foundry and was seated on a three tiered octagonal plinth that consisted of eight columns supporting a large solid domed canopy. An open filigree frieze decorated the outer edge of the cornice. Above the cornice was an elaborate filigree design with star shaped finials. The terminal on the six sided cupola was a bird with open wings. A single central lamp illuminated the interior of the structure.

The wide based font was casting number 12 or 13 (photographs do not reveal the detail required to differentiate.) Located on a raised and stepped platform the central pedestal was supported by four smaller columns stamped with a diamond pattern. The large basin had a square based pyramid relief on the rim and was partitioned by four foliate brackets from which cups were suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts released water flow. Square capitals on each side of the basin contained a seven pointed embellishment which may represent a star or the sun. A multi-tiered circular column was surmounted by a studded orb terminal.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Brown Memorial Fountain

Location: Lodge/Court Street, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

Cast by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, this drinking fountain was erected in 1924, and originally known as the Brown Memorial Fountain. The structure was seated on a two tier circular plinth.

 

Casting number 19 (10’ 10” high) has a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils (still visible) protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

The fountain now rests on a square plinth set inside a large circular stone basin. A green cast iron railing acts as a barrier and a decorative element. The design consists of thistles alternating with gold stars. Four large brass taps have been added from which water pours into the basins. Lights are positioned around the circumference of the stone basin and jets spray water towards the structure.

In 1917 a roadside buffet was set up at the fountain. Tea and biscuits were offered to tourists who took advantage of the bus tours that travelled from Edinburgh to the Border Abbeys. The minimal charge was a local contribution to the war effort.

Tourists are often tempted to throw coins into the basin wishing for good luck. These funds are periodically donated to charity. As the fountain is central to downtown Haddington, it is occasionally the target of pranksters. One highly successful prank involved soap powder which led to suds pouring onto the High Street.

The fountain was listed a category C historic building in 1977. It was cleaned and repainted in 1998.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

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Sacred Heart

Location: The Liberties, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

This structure was originally a Victorian drinking fountain. It was manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Scotland and bears little resemblance to the original casting.

Canopy_20_eaglecomeheretome2

 

A horse trough and drinking fountain were erected in 1884 at the intersection of Reginald and Gray Streets. The cost of the fountain was paid for by subscriptions from the Corporation of Dublin, The Fountain Committee, and the Artisans Dwellings Company (established by Sir Edward Cecil Guinness to build housing for the working class.)

During the War of Independence the eagle finial at the top of the dome was destroyed with a shot from the Tans (the Black and Tans were a force of temporary constables recruited to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary during the Irish War of Independence.)

The drinking font was replaced with a statue of the Sacred Heart in 1929 to commemorate the Centenary of Catholic Emancipation as recorded in the base of the Sacred Heart statue. ‘Erected By / The Parishioners./ Of / St. Catherine’s, / To The Honour And / Glory Of God / And / In Commemoration / Of The Centenary / Of The Emancipation / 1929.’ A cartouche on the front arch displays the year of the statue’s installation.

The fountain once again changed form when a furniture lorry collided with the structure. It remained in a state of ruin until it was restored by replacing the open fretwork canopy with a solid copper dome in preparation of the Papal visit in 1979. It was rededicated as recorded in a second engraving in the base of the statue: ‘Restored / To Mark The Visit Of / Pope John Paul II / To The Liberties / 29th Sept. 1979’. At this period in history the location of the shrine was used to recite the Rosary each night, and the annual celebration of Corpus Christi (a moveable feast between May and June) is still celebrated there.

The structure has been listed on the Record of Protected Structures #3326.

Casting number 20 (18 feet high) was from MacFarlane’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland and sat on a two tiered octagonal plinth. The drinking fountain canopy was supported by eight columns decorated with shamrocks and griffin terminals.

The highly decorated fret detail arches were trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette displayed alternate images of cranes and swans and offered shields for memorial. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

The ribbed dome was open filigree with an eagle finial at the apex. Doves and flowers offered decorative relief, and the internal capitals were statues of owls and lion masks.

Under the canopy stood the font (casting number 18.) The wide base was in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which was set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre was a stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A terminal with four arms offered drinking cups suspended by chains. As the fountain could be customized, there were various options for the font terminal: a crane, a kylix-shaped vase, an orb with floral tendrils, and a bust of Queen Victoria, etc. There is no evidence to show the selected option.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife, and eagles represent immortality.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources

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