Robert Burns Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England

The only statue of Rabbie Burns in the North of England was erected in Walker Park, Newcastle upon Tyne to commemorate a visit by Burns to the city of Newcastle on 29th May 1787. The statue, mounted on a drinking fountain, was donated by the Tyneside Burns Club with subscription from the many Scottish workers in the local shipyards who had raised money over a five year period.

Unveiled on 13 July 1901 by Hugh Crawford Smith MP, he announced that Burns would probably have liked something stronger in the fountain than water, to which a voice in the crowd shouted ‘Aye wad he, a glass o’ th’ hard stuff’, which was met with laughter.

The drinking fountain, casting number 19, was manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The base was an octagonal plinth with 4 steps rising to an octagonal platform on which the structure was seated.

The drinking fountain had a wide base with canted corners, on which was set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The 6 feet 6 inch central column was decorated with projecting acanthus leaves, and a dedication shield bearing the legend: Presented / To / The District Council / By / The Burns Club / Walker On Tyne /1901. Tin cups were suspended on chains at the base of the capital.

The circular capital supported a 6 foot statue of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard. Sculpted by D. W. Stevenson of Edinburgh, it depicted Burns standing contrapposto with arm outstretched in the act of reciting ‘A Man’s A Man For ‘A That’. The capital hosted an engraving with lines from the previously mentioned poem, It’s Coming Yet For A’ That, / That Man To Man, The World O’er / Shall Brothers Be For A’ That.

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Neglected due to lack of use, and vandalised in the 1970s, the head and arms of the statue were severed.

Restoration of the statue was commissioned by the North East Federation of Burns Societies in 1975 and undertaken by a firm of Hatfield-based welders. Missing fingers on the right hand were recreated using glass fibre.

The statue was then returned to its position atop the drinking fountain and relocated to Heaton Park where it was unveiled on 24th September 1975. Almost a decade later the statue was removed by vandals and rolled down a hill where it broke into pieces. The fragments were recovered and stored by Newcastle City Council at Jesmond Dene Nursery in February 1984. The fate of the cast iron drinking fountain and inscribed plaque is unknown.

Three decades later, pieces of the statue were discovered in the depot. It will be recast and erected in the original location within Walker Park thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Parks for People project. Installation is expected in the summer of 2016.

The original design of Casting #19 included a statue of Samson. It was modified in many ways to suit the purchaser including height of the column and the statue terminal. Examples shown in the slideshow below illustrate the detail of the drinking fountain upon which Robert Burns once stood in Walker Park.

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Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • 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

 

T. R. Scarfe Drinking Fountain

Location: Botanic Gardens, Adelaide, South Australia

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas R. Scarfe J.P. were both present for the dedication of a commemorative drinking fountain erected in 1909 under the large Moreton Bay tree near the director’s residence (Summer House on Trellis Walk.) During an informal opening, the fountain was handed over to the chairman of the board of governors and the director.

The fountain replaced a cluster of aloes within the gardens which had been defaced by people carving their names into the thick leaves. Cool water ran continuously, and the overflow ran down the watercourse into the lily pond. The fountain was extremely popular and well used by hundreds of thirsty people who formed lines to fill jugs and bottles.

Casting number 12 was manufactured by McDowall, Steven & Co Ltd, Milton Iron Works, Glasgow, Scotland. The 7’ 6” high structure was originally seated on a two tiered square stone plinth. A pedestal with highly decorated stanchion is flanked on each side with a dolphin, symbolizing guardians of water; and a lion mask (another symbol of guardianship) on all fours sides. Water spouting from lion mascarons was collected in tin cups suspended on chains. The sculptured quatrefoil basins now contain bubblers. The capital supports an urn.

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Glossary

  • Bubbler, a fountain with a tap which ejects a stream of water
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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

Temperance Fountain

Location: La Grande, Oregon, USA

The statue located downtown at the entrance to the park in Max Square, at the corner of 4th St. and Adams Avenue, is an historical bronze reproduction of ‘Cast Iron Mary’, an original Temperance statue which surmounted a drinking fountain.

Dedicated on September 7, 1904, at the intersection of Adams Avenue and Elm Street, the fountain was funded by the town’s chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to discourage the use of alcoholic beverages in a town that hosted 20 saloons, 6 bordellos, pool halls, gambling facilities, and a brewery.

With the advent of the automobile, the busy commercial intersection of Elm Street and Adams Avenue was paved in 1912, and the fountain was moved to the intersection of Depot and Fourth Streets.

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In 1916 Oregon’s Legislative Assembly prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol. Although the local brewery, bordellos and saloons closed, alcohol was still peddled in the form of moonshine by bootleggers. On the night of April 22, 1922, George Noble, a local bootlegger, who was fleeing from police, lost control of his automobile and crashed into the fountain. The bootlegger escaped unharmed, but the fountain was toppled and the statue crashed to the ground. Cast Iron Mary was decapitated. The fountain was not replaced due to a decline in its use, and the statue was repaired and sold to the officials of a Texas town.

A fund raising effort to re-erect the statue with a small drinking fountain was initiated as the Cast Iron Mary Project. A concrete pedestal was cast and a replica of the statue created from historical photographs. It was cast in bronze at Valley Bronze and installed at Max Square on 7 August 2003. The bubbler fountain was added in 2004 thus completing the project.

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The original drinking fountain was a casting by J. L. Mott Iron Works and was seated on an octagonal plinth. A single pedestal with canted corners supported two large fluted horse troughs above which were 3 rectangular panels for decoration or dedication. Two demi-lune basins for humans were located at each side within elongated rectangular panels. Drinking cups attached to chains were filled from dolphin mascaron spouts located beneath the cornice. At ground level there were small basins for the use of dogs.

The statue of Hebe holding a jug in her right hand with her left hand on her chest was the casting of a sculpture by Giuseppe Moretti. Although officially named “Temperance,” the town denizens called her “Cast Iron Mary.” She was mounted on an elaborately decorated octagonal base with an engraving W.C.T.U. 1904.

 

Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

 

Lewis Fountain

Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

At the northwest corner of Main and Argyle Streets (once known as Moody’s Corner) near the waterfront is the Lewis Fountain also known as the South End Fountain. It was donated as a gift to the Town of Yarmouth in 1895 by Nathan B. Lewis, a prosperous ship owner and merchant whose businesses operated on Argyle Street. The fountain, commissioned from a design by J.L. Mott Iron Works of New York, was erected on 6th May 1895.

Circa 1895. Used with permission, Photo courtesy of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

Circa 1895. Used with permission, Photo courtesy of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

Circa 1911. Used with permission. From Souvenir of the 150th Anniversary of the Settlement of Yarmouth Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia Archives — Library no. V/F vol. 262 no. 14

Circa 1911. Used with permission. From Souvenir of the 150th Anniversary of the Settlement of Yarmouth Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Archives — Library no. V/F vol. 262 no. 14

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The cast iron structure is seated on an octagonal base with chamfered corners. Originally there were 4 small basins at ground level to allow dogs to drink and two large troughs to quench the thirst of horses and cattle.

Eight panel, surmounted with scalloped arches, host dolphin masks from which water spouted into four basins decorated with laurel leaves. A square central column displays three cartouches containing an orb surrounded by flourish. The fourth cartouche is an engraved plaque which reads: Presented / To The / Town Of Yarmouth / By / Nathan B. Lewis And Wife / May1st 1895. Each corner is bound with a highly decorated pilaster.

A plaque identifies the structure with the legend, Town / Of / Yarmouth / Heritage Property. The fountain was recorded as a Registered Heritage Property on June 12, 1984.

The terminal is an elaborately decorated four tiered urn capped with an acorn finial. Acorn motifs symbolize that the roots of a family or institution are old and deep.

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During World War II the fountain was removed possibly with the intention of reducing it to scrap metal for the war effort. However, thanks to the determination of a Lewis family member it was returned to Moody’s Corner.

With the advent of the motor vehicle the fountain became an obstacle. After being damaged in several collisions, it was removed in the 1950s and recast before being relocated to its current location. Although a constant flow of water from Lake George originally fed the fountain, it is no longer connected to a water supply.

NOTE: Another drinking fountain existed in Yarmouth on Forest Street. A ‘lost’ fountain, this structure resembles a J. W. Fiske Foundry casting. It was removed in the early 1940s after being hit by a car. Drinking fountains were often placed in the middle of busy horse traffic intersections where they eventually became an obstacle to vehicular traffic. It is believed that the structure was sent to a foundry for repairs but there is little known of this fountain’s history.

Glossary

  • 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.
  • Chamfered, a beveled edge connecting two surfaces
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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