Tranent Fountain

Location: Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland

Poor water quality and insufficient supply was the reason for the erection of drinking fountains around the world. In 1880, the town of Tranent in East Lothian, Scotland, was served by a spring that could no longer meet the needs of the town. Although it was decided to purchase water from a source in Crichton in the parish of Cranston in Midlothian, the Burgh of Tranent could not wholly fund the project and public subscriptions including a generous donation from Mr. Polson raised the remaining funds. The fountain was erected at the west end of the High Street on the corner of Winton Place, with the official opening taking place on 10th May 1883.

The cast iron drinking fountain is a modification of number 28 and was manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It consists of a trough with a lamp centerpiece flanked by two boys holding upturned urns from which water once poured. The statues stood on a short pedestal that contained a button to release a flow of water from the urns into the trough. Four intertwined dolphins, symbolizing guardians of all things water related, encircled the central column as it ascended to the lamp finial. Horizontal arms offered drinking cups suspended on chains.

According to local history, the site of the fountain was a meeting place used by evangelists in the early twentieth century.

The fountain was demolished sometime after the inauguration of the War Memorial, which was erected on 9th April 1922 in the same location.

A near identical fountain is located in Durban, South Africa; and a similar fountain with a round basin is in St. Arvans, Chepstow, Wales. (These fountains have already been documented in the blog. Enter the city name in the Search field.)


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