Monthly Archives: August 2013

Witcombe Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Hay, New South Wales, Australia

The fountain is located at the corner of Moppet and Lachlan, in Hay, New South Wales, Australia. The official opening was in 1884 although the first flow of water was a month earlier in 1883. The fountain was donated to the people of Hay from Mayor John Witcombe. It is believed that he was the first Mayor to have presented his community with a fountain.

The fountain was listed on the National Register of the Estate in 1980. A decade later, the structure was restored by the Hay Shire Council. At one time it had been painted white but has been changed to a darker colour. It was rededicated in 2009 in conjunction with the Hay Sesquicentenary celebrations

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow, the most prolific architectural iron founders in the world. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette host the New South Wales Coat of Arms and a dedication shield: Presented to the People of Hay by John Witcombe Mayor 1883 is present on two sides.

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 finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (design 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 was a crane. The influenza pandemic of 1918 initiated the conversion of the fountain to a bubbler which is still operational today.

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.

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
  • 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
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
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Beare Park Fountain

Location: Elizabeth Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Beare Park is located close to the corner of The Esplanade and Ithaca Road. The drinking fountain, number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue, was erected in 1870.

The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches 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 circular seal of the City of Sydney which contains an inscription identifying Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of City of Sydney, 1857. The Coat of Arms consists of a shield with a ship and beehive surmounted by a mural crown impaled with a pick-axe and a star. The shield is flanked by an aboriginal native with a spear; and an English sailor. The Seal bears the 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 finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy there was originally a font with a basin, a statue, and four drinking cups suspended on chains. Initially, the fountain contained an iron tap which regulated the flow of water. In the interest of hygiene, drinking cups were abolished 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.

Although there is no photographic evidence to reveal the original casting, it was more than likely number 7, 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was 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.

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
  • 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
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Da Gama Clock Fountain

Location: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

400 years after the Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama, sighted land which he named Natal, a memorial drinking fountain was erected as a gift from the Portuguese government to the British Colony of South Africa. The original location of this structure in 1897 was at the corner of Point Road and Southampton Street, Durban, and was later moved to the Esplanade Gardens in 1969.

Drinking fountain number 20 is from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland and sits on a two tier octagonal plinth. The drinking fountain canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals, symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions.

The highly decorated fret detail arches are trimmed with rope detail. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial; a crane, the city of Durban seal, and a stylized 1897. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. Interior terminals are owls representing guardians of the afterlife. The ribbed dome is open filigree surmounted by four clocks facing east, west, north and south.

The font is casting number 19, a quatrefoil basin supported by a wide base with four lion jambs also acknowledged as guardians. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils protrude from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson.

A plaque attached to the monument states that the memorial was erected by the Burgesses of Durban to commemorate the discovery of this colony by Vasco da Gama on Christmas day AD1497.

An engraved stone offers interpretation in English and Portuguese to commemorate the fifth centenary of the birth of Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese navigator and discoverer who named this land Natal. The monument was unveiled on 19th August 1969 by his Excellency the Portuguese Ambassador assisted by the Consul of Portugal and presented to the City of Durban by the Portuguese Club of Natal.

By 2010, the structure was in a state of disrepair and it was decided to restore it prior to the World Cup.

The structure is protected under the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act as a public memorial.

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
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • 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

 


Prince’s Green Drinking Fountain

Location: Cowes, Isle of Wight

Located in Cowes, this Saracen Foundry drinking fountain is featured on the Esplanade facing north to the Solent, (the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.) The fountain was donated in 1864 by George Robert Stephenson, cousin of the famed civil engineer Robert Stephenson, to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandria of Denmark.

The fountain was restored in 1979 and was listed a grade II English Heritage Building in 1979. It is positioned atop 5 steps overlooking the Esplanade and the English Channel.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings. (Griffins are symbols of guardians of priceless possessions.)

Rope moulded cartouches 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 finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (design 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.

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
  • 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
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 

 


Jamestown Memorial Fountain

Location: Jamestown, St. Helena

Most memorial drinking fountains celebrate the life of someone who gave service to the community. In this case, the memorial marks a tragic event in St. Helena’s history. Jamestown is the capital and the largest town in the island which is 1200 miles off the west coast of Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean.

An excerpt from the book, St. Helena the Historic Island by E. L. Jackson. The year 1890 was marked by a terrible fall of rocks, which caused loss of life. The town is on three sides surrounded by high rocky precipices which completely shut it in, the only open space being northward towards the sea. The roads to the interior are made along these rocks, which in many places are loose and intersected with shale. After heavy rains, or a very hot season, huge masses detach themselves and fall into the valley. There have been many falls of rock, but none so terrible as that which occurred on April 19, 1890, when the inhabitants were roused in the dead of night of perfect darkness by a low rumbling sound, gaining quickly in force, until, with a deafening roar, hundreds of tons of rock were precipitated on the houses in the town, burying sleeping men, women and children. The remembrance of this is even now terrifying to the people who fled their homes panic-stricken, not knowing from what quarter danger threatened. Nine persons were killed, many seriously hurt, and a great number saved in a most miraculous manner. To the memory of the dead, and as thanksgiving for the escape of so many, a memorial fountain was erected in the main street.

The fountain was originally located on Main Street between the Consulate Hotel and the Post Office. Sadly, it was removed in the 1990s and there is no record of its current whereabouts. However, the memorial plaque is now displayed on the exterior wall of the public library facing the Grand Parade. Interestingly, the date on the plaque differs from the account of the tragedy related in the previous paragraph. It reads: ‘In memory of the nine persons killed by the fall of 1500 tons of rock 17th April 1890’

The drinking fountain stood on a single circular plinth and was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Drinking fountain number 8 and is recorded as 9 feet 6 inches high. The structure consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings. Griffins are symbols of guardians of priceless possessions. Cartouches contained within three lunettes hosted the image of a crane with the fourth being the dedication shield. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, “Keep the pavement dry”. Surmounting this was an open and highly enriched dome, the apex being occupied by a crown and a lamp.

Under the canopy stands the font (casting number 7.) A single pedestal with four decorative columns rises from an octagonal base. Four salamanders descend the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery. The basin, 2 feet 6 inches in diameter, had a dog tooth edge and decorative relief. A central urn with four outstretched tendrils offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane, a symbol of vigilance.

The memorial was erected in September 1891.

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
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusp, the point of intersection of two ornamental arcs or curves
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Harbour Street Fountain

Location: Portmahomack, Easter Ross, Scotland

In the fishing village of Portmahomack a drinking fountain and trough was erected to celebrate the arrival of piped water to the town in 1887.

The fountain was presented by Peter Macdonald, a native of Portmahomack, and a “rectifier and wine merchant” in Glasgow. It was opened on 27th October, 1892, with full Masonic honours in front of a large crowd.

Drinking fountain number 3 from George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry is 9 feet 10 inches high. The structure consists of four columns with obelisk finials rising 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 offer a flat surface for inscriptions in raised metal letters; a dedication displays the Gaelic phrase, Uisce Tobar Na Baistaid, and is roughly translated as Water Wells of Baptism. Civic virtues such as temperance were extolled on many drinking fountains. Over each arch, cartouches within each lunette offer commemorative dedication or crests. A medallion contains a memorial inscription Gravitation Water Introduced Into Portmahomack in 1887.

The solid dome with a finial covers the fluted pedestal and wide basin containing a putto holding an oar, seated on an upturned urn (casting number 8). A small basin at ground level is accessible for animals.

It was listed a category B historic building in 1971 and has since been restored.

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
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Finial, A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, A long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Obelisk, A tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Putto, A figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude

Fountain, Harbour Street, Portmahomack


Sunken Gardens Fountain

Location: Bangor, County Down, Ireland

The drinking fountain located at the Sunken Gardens in Bangor was erected by members of the Bangor Corinthians Sailing Club in memory of Mrs. Arthur Hill Coates.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a double octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings which display lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields. A cartouche contains a dedication with the inscription, Erected / By / The Members / Of The / Bangor Corinthian / Sailing Club / In Memory Of / Their Sincere And True Friend / Mrs. Arthur Hill Coates / 1895. On each side, arch faceplates provide a flat surface for 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.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contain flowers. The structure is surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stands font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin is engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase is terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles support drinking cups on chains.

Customization was encouraged by the manufacturer, and with no original photograph the actual design of the font is unknown. However, the standard for this model was casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains.

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.

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
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • 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 moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal