Crocodile Fountain

Location: Concarneau, Brittany, France

The historical town of Concarneau was once a centre for shipbuilding and today is a large fishing port. Part of the town is behind a walled fortification which has been in existence since the 17th century. Known as the Ville Close it sits on an island in the harbour which is reached via a drawbridge.

Within the Ville Close at the Place Saint-Guénolé is a drinking fountain which was erected in 1856 to provide drinking water to the inhabitants. It was originally erected on the mainland at Pénéroff quay where fishermen utilized it before heading out to sea. The fountain was relocated behind the walled town sometime between the post-war period and the1960s.

The fountain approximately 8 feet high is seated on an octagonal granite basin base designed by the famous architect Joseph Bigot. The drinking fountain is cast iron and is the work of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Claude Eugène Guillaume.

The rectangular column with attic base has a square foundation with chamfered corners and is surmounted by a lamp. On two sides a shield contains sculptured water lilies and bulrushes. The alternate sides containing the drinking fountains are more elaborate.

Floral relief is visible at the base of the shield which contains a human mask. A brass tap emerges from the mouth of the mask to release drinking water which then flows into a drain in the granite base. Two winged cherubs holding ribbons of flowers are seated above the panel. An acroter with chamfered corners supports statuary of a turtle and an otter in the company of a crocodile with head raised and mouth open. A fish is held between its teeth. The lamp terminal is surmounted on the fish.

The square and drinking fountain were restored in 2011.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources

http://paris1972.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/concarneau-de-pl-du-petit-chateau-to-rue-vauban-jan13.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedouglascampbellshow/3121908610/

https://www.facebook.com/tourisme.concarneau/timeline

http://photosfrancecotesouest.eklablog.fr/photo-de-la-fontaine-aux-crocodiles-de-concarneau-ville-close-a66147977

http://www.leglobeflyer.com/reportage-2-199.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/21057963@N08/8558209622

 

East Drinking Fountain

Location: Austin, Texas, USA

An artesian well was built over the Trinity aquifer in 1889 to supply water to the Capitol. In 1903 a cast iron drinking fountain with overhead electric light fixture was placed over the well to provide the public with a drinking source. It is located on the east side of the great walk leading to the Capitol building’s main front entrance.

The canopied fountain was manufactured by J.W. Fiske of New York. Seated on a circular base with four stanchions, an elaborate pedestal supports the fluted basin. Four narrow columns with beaded detail and attic base support the solid dome. The capitals are acanthus. The terminal is a fish scale post with a large central globe and four smaller globes located in compass directions. The interior of the dome contains a cone shaped obelisk, with open lattice work and acanthus relief, which releases water into the basin by pressing on a foot lever. The fountain visible today is a reproduction. The original fountain offered a metal cup suspended on a chain.

An information plaque located nearby relays the history of the fountain. “The artesian well completed at this site in 1889 furnished an ample and inexpensive water supply for the new Capitol. At a depth of about 1,550 feet, natural pressure forced water from the Trinity aquifer to the surface. The powerful flow of water satisfied drinking, sanitary and fire protection needs for the Capitol. A coal-fired boiler converted the well water into steam, which turned the building’s first electric generator, and circulated through radiators to warm the Capitol’s interiors. The abundance of well water for irrigation made possible the first landscape improvements, including a lawn of sod and more than a 100 new trees. A cast-iron drinking fountain placed over the well in 1903, provided continuously running well water and metal drinking cups hanging from chains. Convinced that the mineralized water possessed medicinal value, visitors hauled it away in bottles for the next 73 years. In 1928, a granite water fountain replaced the cast-iron fixture. Officials closed the well in 1980 due to more stringent water quality standards. This reproduction fountain, installed in 1996, provides safe drinking water with a gentle step on the root lever.”

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

Image Sources

https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/6223378189/

http://www.matthewbollom.com/2012/06/texas-state-capital/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/3575083016/

http://www.christoperj.com/2012/03/austin2012-texas-capitol-grounds.html

http://myaustinview.blogspot.ca/2014/02/texas-capitol-artesian-well.html

Richard Russell Fountain

Location: Limerick, Munster, Ireland

Officially opened in 1877 the People’s Park was given to the people of Limerick in honour of Richard Russell, a prominent local businessman and highly regarded employer. A drinking fountain provided by employees of Russell Flour Mills and the former Carnegie Library was also unveiled at the same time.

In 2009 Limerick City Council and Limerick Civic Trust decided to restore the fountain as it had fallen into disrepair. The project was undertaken by Eura Conservation Ltd. funded by Limerick City Council, the Earl of Limerick Fund, the People’s Park Trustee Fund, Civic Trust resources and conservation money. The fountain was dismantled and shipped to England where it was blasted, cleaned, repaired and a paint analysis was done. Missing parts were recreated using moulds from a restoration of the same fountain design in Belfast which was also restored by Eura. After repainting the structure was weatherproofed.

It was returned to Limerick in November 2009. The fountain adorned with lights to illuminate the structure was rededicated by the mayor of Limerick, Kevin Kelly.

The fountain was manufactured by George Smith’s Sun Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Casting number 2 is seated on an octagonal plinth and consists of eight columns supporting a large solid domed canopy. The open filigree frieze above the cornice is expanded to the interior of the dome, and the outer edge of the cornice is decorated with Maltese crosses. The ribs on the domed roof are outlined with stars or suns. The six sided cupola is trimmed with a rope design and is surmounted with a weathervane finial consisting of four scrolls with leaves and suns/stars pointing in four compass directions.

The wide based font is casting number 13 and is supported by four pedestals stamped with a diamond pattern. Square capitals on each side of the dog toothed basin contain a seven pointed embellishment which may represent a star or the sun. Four consoles with acanthus relief connect the centre stanchion to the basin. A multi tiered circular column is surmounted by a studded orb terminal.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Consoles, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

Image Sources

https://www.flickr.com/photos/steampunktendencies/galleries/72157633620378136#photo_5011594526

 

Plaza de Cataluña Fountain

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Plaza de Cataluna at Arroya located in Buenos Aires hosts a replica of the Font de Canaletes drinking fountain in Barcelona, Spain. The fountain was donated to the city by Barcelona City Council in association with the Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona Company involved in water access in Argentina.

The dedication was attended by Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Fernando de la Rua in 1996. Not long after its installation the taps were vandalized and had to be rebuilt. The repair was sponsored by La Recova de Posadas, a local business.

The base of the fountain is a circular plinth which doubles as a drainage system. Four circular basins on pedestals surround the central column, and a small trough for dogs is located at ground level. The central column expands into the shape of an urn with four spigots, each surmounted by Barcelona’s coat of arms. An attic base supports a fluted roof from which rises a highly decorated column with four brackets supporting glass lanterns with crown finials. The apex of the structure resembles a pine cone. A plaque resting against the octagonal stone plinth states:

This fountain, a replica of the historic Font des Canaletes located on the Rambla de Canaletes in Barcelona, was donated to the city of Buenos Aires by the city of Barcelona and the joint partnership of Barcelona Water Company and Argentina Water.

Glossary

  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • 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.
  • Spigot, A device that controls the flow of liquid from a container

Image Sources

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/7884668108/

http://bienvenuevoyageur.blogspot.ca/2011/11/font-de-canaletes-buenos-aires.html

 

 

Sidney Fountain

Location: Stafford, Staffordshire, England

The fountain was donated by the widow of Thomas Sidney who was born in Stafford and became Lord Mayor of London in 1853. It was erected on Gaol Square in Stafford in 1889.

Casting number 19 manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry was erected on a two tier circular plinth. The wide base in the form of a St.Andrew’s cross was set on a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four troughs for animals were set between four lion jambs that supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The fluted central column with two decorated brackets supported two lamps. The capital was surmounted by a statue of Samson. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

The statue of Samson was replaced within two decades and is currently part of the Staffordshire Museum collections. The central column was extended and a third lamp was erected at the apex.

In 1916 the third lamp was removed, the column shortened, and a clock with four faces installed. It was presented by George Bruckshaw to celebrate fifty years of residence in Stafford.

The fountain was destroyed by a motor vehicle in 1928. The clock was restored and mounted on a single post with four lamp globes facing compass directions. Although no vestige of the drinking fountain remained the clock was located near to Samson’s original location.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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


Image Sources
Images are produced from the Staffordshire Past Track service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey.
Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service
Stafford Historical and Civic Society
Newcastle Borough Museum and Art Gallery

www.staffspasttrack.org.uk
http://www.landmark-information.co.uk
http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Sydney’s Fountains

Location: Sydney, Australia

Mayor Renny chose the design for the fountain from an illustrated catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co., ordering eight drinking fountains for the city of Sydney. They arrived in July 1870. Historical documents reveal that another two fountains were purchased sometime later.

  • Green Park, Darlinghurst Road
  • Wentworth Park, East end
  • Wentworth Park, West end
  • Prince’s Street near the Public school
  • Hunter Street and O’Connell Street
  • Loftus House at Custom House
  • Moore Park, Randwick Road
  • Moore Park, Cleveland Street
  • Prince Alfred Park, Exhibition building
  • Beare Park, Elizabeth Bay

Drinking fountains at Loftus House (Macquarie Place), Beare Park and Railway Square have been previously documented. You can view them by using the search box on the home page.

Casting number 8 from William MacFarlane’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high. The structure consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette host the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.’ The remaining two lunettes contain the City of Sydney Coat of Arms: a shield charged with a ship and beehive and working bees, surmounted by a mural crown impaled with a pick-axe surmounted by a star. The sinister supporter is an aboriginal native with a spear; the dexter supporter an English sailor. Motto, “I take, but I surrender.”On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the apex being an imperial crown.

Under the canopy the original font was casting number 7 standing 5 foot 8 inches high. A single pedestal with four decorative columns rose from an octagonal base; four salamanders descended the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery. The basin had a scalloped edge and decorative relief. A central globular urn with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane. The original fonts no longer exist and have been replaced with bubblers.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic ofguardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

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
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources
http://photosau.com.au/Cos/scripts/home.asp

http://sydney-eye.blogspot.ca/2010/04/folly-of-ozymandias.html

http://acmssearch.sl.nsw.gov.au/s/search.html?collection=slnsw

In Gratitude
Many thanks to ‘PellethePoet’ who supplied me with links to 19th century photographs at the NSW archives

Polly on the Fountain

Location: Oldbury, West Midlands, England

This lost cast iron drinking fountain was manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Company Foundry. David Taylor, the founder of the London Ironworks in Oldbury, bequeathed to the town in his will a sum of money to purchase a drinking fountain, (the proposal to erect a fountain had been initiated 35 years earlier.) It was erected at the corner of Birmingham Street and Unity Place on the same site from which Jack Judge, composer of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, would later sell fish from his handcart.

It was seated on a rectangular plinth with rounded edges, and consisted of a trough with a drinking fountain centerpiece. Centrally positioned floral lunettes were located in the decorative panels of each animal trough.

The drinking fountain was an encased dome surrounded by arches and short pedestals with floral decoration. Four Corinthian columns with attic base supported a canopy surmounted by a statue. Lunettes between each column contained lion masks. On two sides, water which flowed from the lion mouth into a fluted basin descended to a small trough below for the use of dogs. The central finial was a reeded vase with handles in the form of intertwined snakes. Photographic evidence shows a partly illegible inscription between the lion mask and basin, Presented to the town by David Taylor…1882

The terminal statue of a female figure stood on a circular base set upon a square plinth. She was portrayed in a contrapposto stance and was dressed in long flowing robes. Her left arm was relaxed at her side and her right arm held a torch above her head. Originally a glass sphere, it contained a gas mantle that was illuminated at night. The statue was identified as Europa by the manufacturer, but it was known locally as Polly on the fountain. The reason for this nickname is unknown.

The description of the fountain appeared in the Oldbury Weekly News of 5th August 1882 although the description was not accurate.  “It is composed entirely of iron, the contract having been executed by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company.  There are four troughs at the base for the use of sheep, dogs and cattle, above which is the usual provision for the public.  In the centre of the structure is an ornamental urn which seems to be in connection with the lion heads from which the water flows.  Over this is a canopy or pedestal on which stands a full-sized figure representing a female, holding up a crown with outstretched hands.”

On Christmas Eve 1949 drunken celebrants climbed onto the statue knocking it to the ground and breaking the right arm. With no attempt made to repair it, the remains of the fountain were dismantled to be sold for scrap.Harry Nightingale, great grandson of David Taylor and owner of a pawn shop in the town, purchased the damaged statue and erected it in his garden at Barnford Crescent. This was the first of many homes for Polly as family members relocated within the town of Oldbury; Kingswinford; Bath, Somerset; and Trowbridge, Wiltshire. After Edna Nightingale became a widow, she offered to return the statue to the town with the proviso that it was repaired. The statue was therefore delivered to Oldbury but after inspection was considered too costly, and it was returned to Wiltshire. The statue remains in the care of the Nightingale family.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Canopy, an ornamental roof-like projection
  • Contrapposto, a stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

In Gratitude
Many thanks to Dr. Terry Daniels, Chair of the Oldbury Local History Group

 

Image Sources

http://historyofoldbury.co.uk/articles/article008%20-%20jack%20judge%20part%201.htm

 

Burslem Fountain

Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

James Maddock J.P. was a businessman and a philanthropist who made donations to the Wedgewood Institute and the Haywood Hospital. He also held the position of Mayor of Burslem for two years. He donated the drinking fountain to the town in 1881. It is located at the centre of St. John’s Square.

This cast iron fountain cast by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company rests on a three tiered square plinth of kerridge stone, the base of which is put together with bricks and blue lias (blue lias consists of a sequence oflimestoneandshalelayers). The height of the structure is 14 ft. 6 ins. and originally had a copper bronze appearance.

The square base with chamfered corners offers two basins on opposite sides. The second tier of the fountain is an encased dome surrounded by arches and short pedestals with floral decoration. Four Corinthian columns with attic base rise from the pedestals to support an abacus from which a central fluted column rises. Two dolphins are intertwined at the base of the column which has a lamp terminal. The original gas lamp was a globe with gilt bands.

Today, lunettes between each column contain alternating lion masks with rings and elephant masks from which water pours into the basins. However, the original design did not have elephant masks and contained four lion heads. Water flowing from the basins descended to a small trough below for the use of dogs. The central terminal is a reeded vase with handles in the form of intertwined snakes. Originally the vase was interlaced with gold foliage and the snake handles were also gilt.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are acknowledged as guardians, elephants are a symbol of peace, snakes are potent guardians of sacred spaces, and dolphins are guardians of all things water related.

According to a Staffordshire Times newspaper article dated August 27, 1881, an underground passage was created beneath the fountain to permit repair to pipes without the need to dismantle the fountain.

“The MAYOR then stepped forward, and addressing the crowd he said he had looked forward to that day with very great pleasure, that he might hand over to the town what he promised to do in November. For a long time he had had a wish to do something for his town – the town in which his father worked so many years, and with such great success, and with which his (the Mayor’s) interests were so closely identified. He had also worked to do some good for his fellow-townsmen. There had been many good examples set them by benefactors to the town in various ways by natives and residents, and when he considered the form his gift had taken, he thought he could not do better than present the town with a drinking fountain. He hoped it would be acceptable, and an advantage to the people of Burslem, and that they would find a service in years to come.” Staffordshire Times August 27, 1881.

In August 1984 the fountain was abandoned in the corner of a factory yard near the top of Newcastle Street. It remained there for many years until it was restored and erected once more at Fountain Place in 1990. An inscription on the edge of the plinth states, On 25th April 1990 Francis Fitzherbert. The Lord Stafford, formally marked the restoration to the site of the Burslem drinking fountain by the Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Burslem Preservation Society in conjunction with Stephen Bambury of Co-Bam Ltd. The original fountain was presented by James Maddock.A local pottery manufacturer when he was Mayor of Burslem in 1881 & 1883.

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
  • Corinthian columns, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital
  • 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.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

In gratitude
Many thanks to Mervyn Edwards (Committee, Burslem History Club) for his assistance at the Newspaper Archives.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Image Sources

http://www.thepotteries.org/art/9.htm

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/272798

http://www.midlandsheritage.co.uk/miscellaneous-heritage/2831-drinking-fountain-burslem.html

http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/staffordshire/stoke-on-trent/corneroffountainplaceandstjohnssquareburslemstokeontrent

 

Lyle Drinking Fountain

Location: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland

In the early part of the 19th century, the Lyle family was occupied in the commerce of coopering (barrel making) and shipping; they owned fishing smacks (English sailing vessels used to bring fish to market.) Abram Lyle inherited the business from his father, and with the assistance of several partners he bought a sugar refinery in Greenock in 1865. He also created a shipping line named the Cape Line. When he was denied anchorage in Greenock Harbour to transport sugar from the West Indies, he relocated his business to England in 1882. Henry Tate operated a sugar refinery in England, and many years later in 1921 Abram Lyle’s grandson merged with Henry Tate & Sons to become Tate & Lyle, world famous for sugar and syrup.

In addition to being a businessman, Abram was the Town Provost of Greenock from 1876-1879. Abram donated a drinking fountain to the town which was erected in Cathcart Square in 1880 .

The structure is seated on a three level octagonal plinth. Six Corinthian columns with attic base support a highly decorated open filigree dome. The capital of each column, studded with alternating circles and diamond shapes, extends beyond the capital and ends with a corona finial. At the top of the dome a spire emerges from plant foliage with open filigree crowns and a small orb at the apex.

Crests of 18 prominent families of Greenock, some of which are Ardgowan, Cartsburn, Fairlie, Stewart, Morton, Steele, Watt, and Wood, are visible along the frieze and the central point of each arch.

The font standing on a circular plinth displays an inscription, This Fountain Given To The Inhabitants of Greenock By Abram Lyle Provost 1879. A central pedestal supports a two tiered basin structure, the larger basin being on the bottom, and a smaller basin in which stands a terminal of two fish. Relevance of the fish is probably related to the Lyle family being involved in the commerce of fishing.

There is no evidence of the manufacturer of the drinking fountain. However, there are several castings similar to the Lion Foundry, (and the cast iron coronas on the red sandstone buildings of Sandringham Terrace are also a Lion Foundry design), leads me to believe that the fountain designed by Mr. F.A. Scudamore of Coventry was probably cast by the Lion Foundry of Kirkintilloch.

Image notes

  • In the postcard image, the column terminals appear to contain gas lamp globes.
  • In the 1966 image the original fountain has been replaced by a bubbler (a tap that releases a jet of water), and  a single pedestal with a small white basin. Suspended from the column terminals there would appear to be canisters for lights.
  • In the 1977 image the original font design has been resurrected. The family crests are not in position.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bubbler, a fountain with a tap
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Corinthian Column, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Corona, a crown
  • 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 classical entablature 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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Image Sources

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3661843

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cathcart_Square_and_Lyle_Fountain_-_geograph.org.uk_-_322363.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/westernsmt/2738930644/

http://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98346459@N00/2767151157/

http://mcleanmuseum.pastperfect-online.com/36003cgi/mweb.exe?request=record&id=E8FC0005-573F-42C6-9E04-021602587146&type=102

http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2192391

 

Railway Square

Reporting on yet another of Walter MacFarlane’s drinking fountains in Sydney, Australia. This one was located at Railway Square near the tram shelters.

In 1870 the Mayor of Sydney selected a design of a cast-iron canopied drinking fountain from an illustrated catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co., Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The design was customized to incorporate the City’s coat of arms.

Casting number 8 from  MacFarlane’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high. The structure consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Cartouches contained within each lunette host the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.’ On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the apex being an imperial crown.

Under the canopy stands the font (casting number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. A single pedestal with four decorative columns rising from an octagonal base. Four salamanders descend the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery. The basin has a scalloped edge and decorative relief. A central urn with four projecting tendrils offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane.

Initially, the fountains contained an iron tap which regulated the flow of water and was retrieved with pewter drinking cups. In the interest of hygiene circa 1916, the cups were removed and the font was replaced with a bubbler so named because it produced a flow of bubbling water. The bubblers were produced by John Danks & Co.

In 1914 Lord Mayor Alderman Richards stated that ‘in many cases persons would prefer drinking at a fountain to slaking their thirst at a bar, and more fountains would at least be a small set-off to the dangerous temptations of the public-house.’

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic ofguardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

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
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources

http://photosau.com.au/Cos/scripts/home.asp

http://tdu.to/197288.msg

 

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