In 1839 Nieles Boynton Billany was indentured to a seven year term as a shipwright and carpenter with shipbuilder Thomas Humphrey. He became a freeman in 1847 giving him the right to vote and triggering a life in politics. After his death in 1896 a memorial fund was created with the intention of creating a memorial fountain. A dedication plaque on this lost fountain was inscribed: Erected in memory of / Neiles Boynton Billany 1826 – 1896 / Freeman of the city of Kingston upon Hull / and Tireless Worker against Injustice.
The drinking fountain was erected in 1897 at the entrance to West Park, Hull, Yorkshire, England, and two days later it was seriously damaged, and the drinking cup and chain were stolen. A reward was offered for the apprehension of the culprit.
The fountain was damaged during World War Two and after further damage by a reversing vehicle during a blackout, it was removed from the West Park.
The canopied drinking fountain was design number 4 from David King & Sons Limited who owned the Keppoch Ironworks in Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. It was seated on a two tiered square plinth. Four columns with moulded base and spiral fluted shafts supported a solid ribbed domed with fish scale design. Eight consoles of acanthus were located at the base of each scrolled rib. The highly decorated fret detail over each arch hosted a dove ornament. The finial was a tapered extension with two spheres.
Under the canopy stood the font, an octagonal base decorated with rosettes, and egg and dart frieze. The wide basin was supported by a spiral fluted pedestal decorated with alternate panels of rosettes. The tall finial contained a vase with a tapering shaft from which four ornamental scroll consoles supported drinking cups suspended by chains.
- Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
- Console: a decorative bracket support element
- Fret, running or repeated ornament
- Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
- Rosette, a round stylized flower design
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal