Bainbridge Memorial Fountain

Location: Nenthead, Cumbria, England, and Middleton-in-Teesdale, Durham County, England

Interestingly, there are two drinking fountains dedicated to R. W. Bainbridge. The fountains are located 71 miles apart in Northern England;  near Nenthead, and at the Horse Market Town Centre in Middleton-in-Teesdale. They were manufactured by George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry of Glasgow (trademarks are visible on the shafts and pedestal in Middleton-in-Teesdale.)

Four columns with obelisk finials rise from a double plinth to support a domed canopy. The interior column connectors to the dome are adorned with descending alligators and leafy decoration. Alligators were considered a symbol of evil and were hung from the ceilings of cabinets as a reminder of the mortality of humanity.

Arch faceplates with drip fret detail offer a flat surface for inscriptions in raised metal letters; civic virtues such as temperance were extolled on many drinking fountains. Over each arch are commemorative panels.

The fountain in Nenthead has a columnar cab stand font; whereas in Middleton-in-Teesdale, the font is a fluted pedestal with a wide basin containing a putto holding an oar, seated on an upturned urn. A tap is fitted to the urn and at the rear of the pedestal is housed a small basin at ground level for animals.

Commemorative panels over each arch contain inscriptions. In raised metal letters above each arch:  Erected By R W Bainbridge Esq. Of Middleton House.

The Middleton-in-Teesdale fountain was listed in 1966 as a grade II English Heritage Building.

Status 2016 – a metal hedgehog appears to have been attached to the tap. Photos used by permission, John P. Bolton, Scottish Ironwork Foundation.

Nenthead Bainbridge Memorial Drinking Fountain

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