There are two drinking fountains in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales.
St. Augustine’s Church
The wall inset fountain located at St. Augustine’s Church was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry and is 4 foot 5 inches high. The font is casting number 17, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch with rope detail which also outlines a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The tap protrudes from a shell lunette which is repeated in the fluted basin. A single drinking cup was originally suspended on a chain.
I have been unable to find any record regarding purchase or installation of the fountain. However, in 1925 the Town Surveyor was authorised to purchase six drinking fountains for use in the park and elsewhere.
The second fountain (casting number 7 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow) is located at Alexandra Park, Beach Road, Penarth. It is located north of the pond which itself has a fountain. It was purchased in 1911 and is visible in old postcards from 1915. Currently the drinking fountain is a pedestal with a circular concrete top. The original structure was 5 feet 8 inches high, a single pedestal with four decorative columns and descending salamander relief that supported the decorated basin. A central urn with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane, a symbol of vigilance.
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.
- Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- 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
- Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal