Monthly Archives: October 2013

Thomas Conway Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

When BBC Scotland created a soap opera named “River City” set in Shieldinch, (a fictional Clydeside district) the set included a Victorian drinking fountain. It was created by Heritage Engineering Co., modelled on the drinking fountain at Saracen Cross in Possilpark, Glasgow.

The writers of the soap opera provided a history for the structure: it was erected in 1901, in memory of the Thomas Conway, an Irish immigrant and prosperous owner of Conway Spices.



Village Fountain in St. Arvans

Location: St. Arvans, Monmouthshire Wales

In the early 1890’s it was decided to install drinking fountains throughout the county of Monmouthshire in Wales. As local denizens of St. Arvans held the beauty of the area in high regard, they raised funds to purchase a more elaborate fountain.

A marker on the site acknowledges Marsden Lloyd, a member of the team who initiated the renovation of the fountain for the new millennium. Fundraising and additional grants enable the restoration, and it is now a true working example of a Victorian fountain.

It was manufactured by George Smith & Co. (a stamp on the central column states The Sun Foundry of Glasgow), and assembled in the Iron Stores in Chepstow . It was erected in 1893 on the corner of Fordwich Close and Devauden Road, and designated a grade II listed building on 18 July 1997.

The cast iron drinking fountain is a modification of number 28 with basin number 39. The fountain, seated on a circular base with a trough for animals, supports a large basin. A square central column is flanked by two young boys holding upturned urns from which water pours. The statues stand on a short pedestal that contains a button to release a flow of water from the urns. The central column is multi tiered and decorated. Four entwined dolphins (symbolizing guardians of all things water related) encircle the column as it narrows and ascends to the multi tiered orb finial. An outstretched tendril with a large hoop extends horizontally on all four sides. 



Jaffe Fountain

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

The drinking fountain was dedicated to Daniel Joseph Jaffe, a businessman, politician and philanthropist, and was erected in 1874 at Victoria Square. The commemoration panel is located on the interior of the canopy hood: Daniel Joseph Jaffe born Schwerin 1809 Died at Nice 1874/ A founder of Jaffe Brothers/ of Hamburg, Dundee, Belfast, Liepzig and Paris/ He fostered the linen trade of Ulster/ Until 1933 this memorial stood near the warehouse/ he erected in 1880 at 10 Donegall Square South. It was/ then moved to this site for the better service of the public.

The structure was manufactured by the Sun Foundry, Glasgow and is drinking fountain design number 2. In its original location, the fountain was seated on a deep plinth with several stairs leading to the interior and the font. One of the original features was a lamp at the apex of the dome. It is unknown when the lantern was removed or for what reason (possibly the advent of electric light), but it had already been replaced by a weather vane with compass points when the fountain was moved to the embankment near King’s Bridge, Botanic Gardens in 1933. While located at the Botanic Gardens, the structure fell into disrepair.

In 2007, the monument was in a fragile condition and was dismantled piece by piece and taken to Shropshire, England, to be fully restored. Extensive research and scientific analysis was carried out on various layers of paint in order to identify the original colours. The Fountain was returned to Victoria Square on 14 February 2008.

A manufacturer’s stamp at the base of one of the columns identifies Geo. Smith & Co. Sun Foundry Glasgow No 16 – 5. The stamp refers to Column design number 16 which was 5 inches in diameter.

Seated on a solid base with four steps from street level, the Jaffe Memorial Drinking Fountain consists of eight columns supporting a large solid domed canopy and finial. The open filigree frieze above the cornice is expanded to the interior of the dome, and leaves decorate the outer edge of the cornice. The cupola is trimmed with rope design and is surmounted with a five tiered finial consisting of four scrolls with leaves and suns/stars pointing in four compass directions. (The current finial bears no resemblance to the original lantern, and little resemblance to the weather vane which replaced it). The uppermost part of the finial appears to be in the shape of an arrow pointing to Heaven.

The wide based font, design number 13, was located on a raised and stepped platform. The central pedestal was supported by four columns 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. This symbol also outlines the ribs on the domed roof. Four consoles with acanthus relief connect the central stanchion to the basin and originally supported drinking cups suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts released water flow. A multi-tiered circular column was surmounted by a studded orb terminal.


  • 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

Edward VII Coronation Memorial Fountain

Location: Dukinfield, Tameside, England

Erected in 26 Jun 1902 in Dukinfield Park this fountain is a LOST structure. It was removed in the 1980s due to vandalism and theft of the statue of Samson.

Presented to the town by Mrs. Underwood in commemoration of the coronation of Edward VII, and the opening of the park on June 26th 1902, it was located at the first landing of the terraces facing the King Street entrance.

Drinking fountain number 19 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalgoue was 10’ 10” high, seated on a square plinth with a wide base. Four consoles in the form of lion jambs supported a quatrefoil basin. A highly decorated floral relief column rose from the centre of the font. Four tendrils protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The column also contained a shield with a dedication inscription. The terminal was a statue of Samson.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.


  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal


Edward VII Fountain, Kilmarnock

Located in Kay Park, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, this memorial fountain was erected in 1902 and listed as a category B Historic Building on 1 August 2002. It was manufactured by McDowall, Steven & Co Ltd.’s iron foundry, Milton Works, and is a four level structure with a square abacus separation.

The structure is seated on a circular concrete plinth. The manufacturer’s stamp is visible on the north and south sides, and on the east side is a small trough for animals. A square base offers a drinking trough for dogs and four large basins which protrude from the central column. The water is produced from ornamental taps.

A highly decorated stanchion supports a column, flanked on each side with a dolphin, symbolizing guardians of water, and a lion mask (another symbol of guardianship) on all fours sides. A smaller abacus supports a circular column containing panels on each side for commemoration. The Year 1902 is highlighted on each panel, and the north and south Panels contains the inscription: Presented to his native town by ex Baillie James Craig of Hillhead and Dean in Commemoration of the Coronation of King Edward and Queen Alexandra 1902. The East panel contains a bust of King Edward, and a bust of Queen Alexandra is displayed on the west panel.

The four scrolled feet resting on the uppermost abacus support a ball, upon which sits an eagle, a symbol of immortality. The apex is a crown finial supported by a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a daffodil (the four national flowers of the United Kingdom.)


  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • 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
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support