Breadalbane Drinking Fountain

Location: Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

A drinking fountain in the town donated by the Marquis of Breadalbane was erected in the centre of The Square until it became an obstruction to traffic. It was relocated to Victoria Park and later returned to its original location following realignment of traffic flow.

Design 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. Seated on an octagonal plinth 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 roundels within each lunette offer shields for memorial. . A crane is visible on the east side, and the Breadalbane coat of arms on the north and south sides. A dedication on the west side is inscribed: This Fountain / Was Erected / And Various Improvements Made / To The Town Of Aberfeldy / By Gavin, Marquis Of Breadalbane / As A Memento / Of The Cordial Reception Accorded To Him / & / Lady Breadalbane / By The Inhabitants / On Their First Visit After The Restoration / Of The Marquisate / July 1885.

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 apex 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.

In 2002, the drinking fountain was listed a Category C historic building.


  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Roundel, A small circular decorative plate
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal



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