Location: Swansea, Wales
The provision of safe drinking water was a preoccupation of Victorians, and as lovers of ornamental decoration many drinking fountains were installed throughout the country. The drinking fountain in Cwmdonkin Park, Swansea, Wales was made famous by the poet Dylan Thomas. Childhood memories of his hometown initiated his poem, the Hunchback in the Park: Eating bread from a newspaper/Drinking water from the chained cup/That the children filled with gravel In the fountain basin where I sailed my ship/Slept at night in a dog kennel/But nobody chained him up.
The fountain which is part of the Dylan Thomas Trail has become known as the Dylan Thomas fountain although it existed before he was born. It was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland, and is unique in that the base, pedestal and basin are casting number 6; whereas, the crane finial was used in casting number 7.
The fountain was 5 foot 8 inches high and stood on a circular plinth. A single pedestal with spiral fluted relief rose from an octagonal base. Water flowed from spigots on two sides. A central urn with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. An old photograph shows the terminal was a crane. However, the current finial is a pineapple which, curiously, was the original feature of casting number 6.
Refurbishment of the park including the Dylan Thomas shelter, the drinking fountain, paths, railings and benches was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Tourism Project backed by the European Regional Development Fund, Swansea Council, and the Friends of Cwmdonkin Park. The restoration project was completed in 2013.