Monthly Archives: June 2014

Burslem Fountain

Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

James Maddock J.P. was a businessman and a philanthropist who made donations to the Wedgewood Institute and the Haywood Hospital. He also held the position of Mayor of Burslem for two years. He donated the drinking fountain to the town in 1881. It is located at the centre of St. John’s Square.

This cast iron fountain cast by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company rests on a three tiered square plinth of kerridge stone, the base of which is put together with bricks and blue lias (blue lias consists of a sequence oflimestoneandshalelayers). The height of the structure is 14 ft. 6 ins. and originally had a copper bronze appearance.

The square base with chamfered corners offers two basins on opposite sides. The second tier of the fountain is an encased dome surrounded by arches and short pedestals with floral decoration. Four Corinthian columns with attic base rise from the pedestals to support an abacus from which a central fluted column rises. Two dolphins are intertwined at the base of the column which has a lamp terminal. The original gas lamp was a globe with gilt bands.

Today, lunettes between each column contain alternating lion masks with rings and elephant masks from which water pours into the basins. However, the original design did not have elephant masks and contained four lion heads. Water flowing from the basins descended to a small trough below for the use of dogs. The central terminal is a reeded vase with handles in the form of intertwined snakes. Originally the vase was interlaced with gold foliage and the snake handles were also gilt.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are acknowledged as guardians, elephants are a symbol of peace, snakes are potent guardians of sacred spaces, and dolphins are guardians of all things water related.

According to a Staffordshire Times newspaper article dated August 27, 1881, an underground passage was created beneath the fountain to permit repair to pipes without the need to dismantle the fountain.

“The MAYOR then stepped forward, and addressing the crowd he said he had looked forward to that day with very great pleasure, that he might hand over to the town what he promised to do in November. For a long time he had had a wish to do something for his town – the town in which his father worked so many years, and with such great success, and with which his (the Mayor’s) interests were so closely identified. He had also worked to do some good for his fellow-townsmen. There had been many good examples set them by benefactors to the town in various ways by natives and residents, and when he considered the form his gift had taken, he thought he could not do better than present the town with a drinking fountain. He hoped it would be acceptable, and an advantage to the people of Burslem, and that they would find a service in years to come.” Staffordshire Times August 27, 1881.

In August 1984 the fountain was abandoned in the corner of a factory yard near the top of Newcastle Street. It remained there for many years until it was restored and erected once more at Fountain Place in 1990. An inscription on the edge of the plinth states, On 25th April 1990 Francis Fitzherbert. The Lord Stafford, formally marked the restoration to the site of the Burslem drinking fountain by the Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Burslem Preservation Society in conjunction with Stephen Bambury of Co-Bam Ltd. The original fountain was presented by James Maddock.A local pottery manufacturer when he was Mayor of Burslem in 1881 & 1883.

Glossary

  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Corinthian columns, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital
  • 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.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

In gratitude
Many thanks to Mervyn Edwards (Committee, Burslem History Club) for his assistance at the Newspaper Archives.

Image Sources

http://www.thepotteries.org/art/9.htm

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/272798

http://www.midlandsheritage.co.uk/miscellaneous-heritage/2831-drinking-fountain-burslem.html

http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/staffordshire/stoke-on-trent/corneroffountainplaceandstjohnssquareburslemstokeontrent

 

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Lyle Drinking Fountain

Location: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland

In the early part of the 19th century, the Lyle family was occupied in the commerce of coopering (barrel making) and shipping; they owned fishing smacks (English sailing vessels used to bring fish to market.) Abram Lyle inherited the business from his father, and with the assistance of several partners he bought a sugar refinery in Greenock in 1865. He also created a shipping line named the Cape Line. When he was denied anchorage in Greenock Harbour to transport sugar from the West Indies, he relocated his business to England in 1882. Henry Tate operated a sugar refinery in England, and many years later in 1921 Abram Lyle’s grandson merged with Henry Tate & Sons to become Tate & Lyle, world famous for sugar and syrup.

In addition to being a businessman, Abram was the Town Provost of Greenock from 1876-1879. Abram donated a drinking fountain to the town which was erected in Cathcart Square in 1880 .

The structure is seated on a three level octagonal plinth. Six Corinthian columns with attic base support a highly decorated open filigree dome. The capital of each column, studded with alternating circles and diamond shapes, extends beyond the capital and ends with a corona finial. At the top of the dome a spire emerges from plant foliage with open filigree crowns and a small orb at the apex.

Crests of 18 prominent families of Greenock, some of which are Ardgowan, Cartsburn, Fairlie, Stewart, Morton, Steele, Watt, and Wood, are visible along the frieze and the central point of each arch.

The font standing on a circular plinth displays an inscription, This Fountain Given To The Inhabitants of Greenock By Abram Lyle Provost 1879. A central pedestal supports a two tiered basin structure, the larger basin being on the bottom, and a smaller basin in which stands a terminal of two fish. Relevance of the fish is probably related to the Lyle family being involved in the commerce of fishing.

There is no evidence of the manufacturer of the drinking fountain. However, there are several castings similar to the Lion Foundry, (and the cast iron coronas on the red sandstone buildings of Sandringham Terrace are also a Lion Foundry design), leads me to believe that the fountain designed by Mr. F.A. Scudamore of Coventry was probably cast by the Lion Foundry of Kirkintilloch.

Image notes

  • In the postcard image, the column terminals appear to contain gas lamp globes.
  • In the 1966 image the original fountain has been replaced by a bubbler (a tap that releases a jet of water), and  a single pedestal with a small white basin. Suspended from the column terminals there would appear to be canisters for lights.
  • In the 1977 image the original font design has been resurrected. The family crests are not in position.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bubbler, a fountain with a tap
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Corinthian Column, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Corona, a crown
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 


Railway Square Fountain

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

In 1870 the Mayor of Sydney selected a design of a cast-iron canopied drinking fountain from an illustrated catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co., Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The fountain located at Railway Square near the tram shelters was customized to incorporate the City’s coat of arms. Unfortunately, it no longer exists.

In 1914 Lord Mayor Alderman Richards stated that ‘in many cases persons would prefer drinking at a fountain to slaking their thirst at a bar, and more fountains would at least be a small set-off to the dangerous temptations of the public-house.’

Drinking fountain number 8 was 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the image of a crane, and an open bible displayed a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.’ 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 was surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stood the original font (design number 7) 5 feet 8 inches high. The basin which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was 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 offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane.

Initially, an iron tap regulated the flow of water and was retrieved with pewter drinking cups. In the interest of hygiene circa 1916, the cups were removed and the font was replaced with a bubbler so named because it produced a flow of bubbling water. The bubblers were produced by John Danks & Co.

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.

Glossary

  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • 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
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Queen Victoria Fountain

Location: Bristol, England

The fountain set into the exterior wall of Market House on St. Nicholas Street, Bristol, was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 40th birthday in 1859. It was donated by Mr. Budgett, a wealthy Bristol grocery merchant.

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed arch which contains the drinking well. On either side of the well are cherubs holding daffodils on high whilst standing on acanthus foliage. An inscription is visible on the arch: Wills Brothers Sculpt London. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below.

Listed a Grade II building in 1977 the painted structure was refreshed regularly by Mr. John Hewett of Whitehall in Bristol. The iron back plate and basin were damaged in 1982, and the basin was rebuilt in a concrete/resin mixture.

The fountain was restored at the behest of Bristol City Council and undertaken by Dorothea Restorations. Damage to the fountain was repaired, new cast iron pieces were fitted, and the structure was cleaned.  The original paint had deteriorated over time and after consultation with the City it was repainted in an acceptable colour palette.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

Image Sources

http://www.dorothearestorations.com/case-studies/st-nicholas-fountain–bristol

http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-380491-drinking-fountain-

https://www.facebook.com/TheDrawingRoomDesign

 


Monro Memorial Fountain

Location: Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Mr. Frederick G. Monro, an accountant with the Bathurst Commercial bank, in cooperation with Dr. Thomas Machattie and Dr. William Spencer proposed that land previously used by the Bathurst Gaol should be utilized as a public park.

The cast iron fountain at the George Street entrance to Machattie Park, was erected in 1891 as a memorial to the Monro family on their departure from the city. They were the recipients of a farewell testimonial dinner in 1891 when they moved to Dungog where Mr. Monro undertook the position of bank manager.

Mrs. Monro was very active in the community and accomplished in raising funds to create and maintain Machattie Park. As President of the Bathurst Poor Relief Society she worked hard for those who were needy and gave her time willingly and with great joy. She was a celebrated and well loved citizen and as a mark of esteem subscriptions from the citizens paid for a drinking fountain to be erected in her memory.

In 1917 Bathurst Council approved a recommendation to paint the fountain and purchase two drinking faucets with swan pipes and to place a collar around the centre portion of the fountain.

In 1990 the fountain was treated for corrosion, drinking spouts were repaired and the structure repainted.

The fountain was originally placed level on the ground and a letter to the editor of the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal in December 1891 commented that it would be more attractive if raised a few feet above the ground. At some time this suggestion was used and it currently stands on a two tiered octagonal plinth.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow, the most prolific architectural iron founders in the world. 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 cartouches within each lunette host the image of a crane on two sides, a shield containing the dedication Monro /Memorial Fountain / 1891, and a shield with the inscription Erected / 1891. 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 finial 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.

Glossary

  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • 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
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 


Laird Fountain

The Tranmere Abbatoir in Birkenhead was opened by Mayor William Laird Esq. in 1886. To commemorate the opening of the abbatoir, a fountain was mounted into the wall at the corner of New Chester Road and the entrance to Cammell Laird Shipyard.

The fountain is cast iron coated with copper which has weathered to create a blue/green patina. It is surmounted by a terracotta canopy with attic base and fluted conical acroteria.

The cast iron backplate is in the form of a stylized shield with decorative relief. The scalloped base (originally a trough for dogs) is flanked by two lion masks which delivered water to the trough. A single pedestal supports a protruding basin above which is a panel containing a large lion mask from which water spouted. A wreath and the date 7th March is displayed above the mask.

The top third of the fountain contains a ribbon scroll displayed across the width of the backplate with a dedication; These Abattoirs Were Opened By Wm Laird Esq J.P. Mayor Of Birkenhead.

Four rosettes which flank the backplate were possibly used to conceal bolts that anchor the plate to the bricks. On the wall to the right of the basin there is a circular plate with a button and the inscription; T. Kennedy Patented Kilmarnock. Thomas Kennedy was a partner in the firm Glenfield Co. Ltd. of Kilmarnock, manufacturers of castings and general foundry work.

The fountain was listed a Grade II historic building in 2011.

Glossary

  • Acroteria, an ornament placed on a flat base and mounted at the apex of the pediment
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings

 

Image Sources

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/630889

http://www.liverpoolmonuments.co.uk/drinking/birkenhead01.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12547928@N07/5384635229/

 


Newport-on-Tay Fountain

Location: Dundee, Fife, Scotland

The city of Dundee was once the jute capital of the world. Mrs. Blyth Martin, a member of a prominent Dundee jute family, donated the fountain in 1882 to the town of Newport-on-Tay with the intention of providing clean drinking water to the citizens. It is situated on Tay Street looking across the River Tay to Dundee.

The fountain was listed a category B historic building in 2002. Restoration of the fountain was undertaken in 2012. The discovery of rust shortly thereafter revealed that the surface had not been adequately prepared and corrective measures were taken in 2013.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial. The east facing shield contains a commemoration inscription, The Gift / of / Mrs. Blyth Martin / 1882. The remaining lunettes contain a stag and herons.

On each side, arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; above the east facing arch is the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament. The structure is surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stands font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin is engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase is terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles support drinking cups on chains.

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.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal