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 canopied drinking fountain is casting number 21 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals. The highly decorated fret detail 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. The ribbed dome is open filigree decorated with dove and flower relief. The internal capitals are floral ornament. A vase obelisk finial is at the apex.

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.

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  • 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
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal



Posted on June 10, 2014, in Architecture, BrItish Listed Building, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry, Scotland and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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