General Henry Hall Memorial Fountain

Location: Dublin, Ireland

This structure commonly known as the Five Lamps was erected as a memorial drinking fountain in 1875 to General Henry Hall from Galway who served with the British Army in India. It is located at the junction of five streets: Seville Place, Amiens Street, Portland Row, Killarney Street and North Strand Row. Debate exists regarding the reason for 5 lamps, popularly believed to signify the five connecting streets. It is also alleged to symbolize the five battles fought by the British against the anti-colonial revolt in India. There is apparently a Hindu tradition of lighting five lamps or candles for luck.

The drinking fountain is a modification of casting number 41, manufactured by the Lion Foundry of Kirkintilloch. Demi-lune quatrefoil basins which doubled as horse troughs are supported by a square base with chamfered corners. Panels decorated with palmette and acanthus relief flank each basin. Each side of the central column contains a compass cross at the centre of which is a lion mask with a self-closing tap from which water spouted. Originally there were metal cups suspended on chains.

A frieze of laurel wreaths is situated beneath the capital upon which there is a lamp standard with four decorative feet. The pedestal has a bulbous base with bas-relief extending with fluted column and bands to a two tiered acroter, the terminal of which is a candelabrum of 5 glass lanterns with elaborate consoles.

As cast iron is prone to do, it rusted over decades, and at one time was missing a couple of the lamps. It was restored in 1987 as part of the Dublin Millennium. Grime and paint were sandblasted, the lamps were removed for restoration by craftsmen, and 70-watt high pressure sodium lights were installed. Three missing lion heads were recast and the basins were filled in to prevent vandalism. The road signs which were mounted on the structure were removed.

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  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfer
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal


Clerkenwell Green Fountain

Location: Clerkenwell, England

The name of Clerkenwell originates from the Clerk’s Well in Farringdon Lane. A well and pump which had been installed in 1856 was replaced in 1862 with a cast iron drinking fountain. Funds for the fountain were raised from local subscribers and donated by The Good Samaritan Temperance Society.

Clerkenwell Green was a meeting place for speakers and political activists in the 19th century, and as such, the fountain became a focal point.

britishhistory islingtongovuk

In the late 1870s the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association erected a stone horse trough near the fountain. The trough and fountain were later relocated within the Green, but by the 1930s the fountain had been removed. The horse trough is still in existence.

wikimedia Cattle_Trough

The drinking fountain was manufactured by Andrew Handyside and Co. of Derby, England and is design number 48 in the 1877 catalogue.

Resting on a circular concrete plinth with concrete steps, the cylindrical structure with attic base supported a three tiered acroter. Five fluted columns and decorative volutes supported a cupola with lion mask frieze. A solid dome was surmounted by a sculptured urn and a gilded finial of a putto carrying an urn on his shoulder. The statue was no longer in evidence after 1880. The font itself consisted of a shallow fluted basin. (The same casting can be found at Pancras Old Church, Camden Town – see photographs within this site by using the search parameter, Pancras)


  • Acroter, a flat base
  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Cupola, A small, domed structure on top of a roof
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Volute, a spiral scroll-like ornament found in the capital of a column

Haslam Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Haslam Park, Preston, Lancashire, England

Entering via the south-east gate, beside the avenue of lime trees and parallel with the railway, you will find a cast iron drinking fountain. It was donated by Councillor W. G. Makinson in 1911 following the opening of Haslam Park. The fountain was listed as a Grade II historic building on 27 September 1979.

Casting number 8 from Walter MacFarlane’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high and stands on a two tiered plinth with canted corners. The structure consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded roundels within each lunette host the image of a crane. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters Presented by Councillor W.G. Makinson January 1911; 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. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane.

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

All photos courtesy of Tony Worral,


  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Roundel, A small circular decorative plate
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal


Charlottesville Fountain

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

During the late 19th century, the City of Charlottesville erected four drinking fountains in the downtown area. One of the fountains was located at the Midway School and was still in existence in 1917 (the Lewis & Clark monument now stands in this location).

Circa 1917 Midway School Source: holsinger photographs UVA library

Circa 1917 Midway School
Source: holsinger photographs UVA library

Another drinking fountain which stood outside the Courthouse on Jefferson Street was removed when the Monticello Hotel was built in 1926. It was restored and installed outside the Courthouse in 2004.

cville_court Sq

A marker placed in paving stones on the ground relates the history of the fountains. During the late 1800’s, the City of Charlottesville installed four watering fountains in the downtown area. The fountains were designed to provide water to the citizens, their horses and other domesticated animals. Water was provided by the City water system and fed through four fish-like features to the upper bowl. The overflow then filled the lower trough for smaller animals. A fountain similar to this one once stood in front of the courthouse on Jefferson Street and was removed at the time the Monticello hotel was built in 1926. Through combined efforts of the Charlottesville Volunteer Fire Company and the City of Charlottesville, this fountain, one of the original four, was restored to this location in November 2004.


The structure stands on an octagonal plinth. A fluted circular moulding creates a trough at ground level for the use of dogs. The fluted pedestal with attic base rising from the center of the trough hosts an arched panel containing a dedication, Erected 1892 and the legend, Patented / June 8, 1880.

A second panel contains the image of a woman in bas-relief. She is dressed in classical robes raising a cup/bowl in her right hand and a pitcher in her left hand.

The manufacturer’s name is visible, Henry F. Jenks / Pawtucket, R.I.

The capital which supports a large basin 56 inches in diameter, and capable of holding 100 gallons, is decorated with bas-relief fret. It is 4 feet 3 inches above ground level and was originally used by horses. A central jamb of 4 dolphins spouts water into the basin with the overflow falling to the trough below. The pipes within the fountain were constructed to resist freezing in cold temperatures.

The finial is highly decorated with floriated relief and a studded band terminating in a globe with the same detail as the basin.


  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • 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
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

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