Monthly Archives: July 2014

Alum Chine Fountain

Location: Alum Chine, Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset, England

A chine is a steep dry river valley. Alum Chine is the largest of four chines within the Bournemouth area.

This 20th century drinking fountain is located at the southern end of Alum Chine near the beach. It was manufactured by Andrew Handyside’s Britannia Foundry and is a modified version of design number 24. The Company’s stamp is displayed on two sides.

The 8 foot high cast iron fountain rests on a concrete foundation inset into a small walled recess (sand has now obliterated the wall and foundation.) The multi-tiered rectangular pedestal has a square base with chamfered corners. A panel has been created on all four sides with the application of a raised border. The panel on two of the four sides is empty and the remaining two panels contain a protruding half basin with fluted edge and an inverted finial. The water spout and cup holders are missing. In their place is a plaque providing data of the manufacture and history of the fountain. The body of the pedestal is edged with sculptured fasces.

A multi-level acroter originally supported a terminal of two dolphins intertwined around a trident. Photographic evidence reveals that the trident and part of a dolphin’s tail have been missing for many years.

With exposure to the sea and weather the cast iron rusted and a fresh coat of paint applied. Although no restoration has been attempted it has regained a little of its dignity.


  • Acroter, flat base
  • Fasces, a bound bundle of rods
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources
Alum Chine, Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset
Alum Chine, fountain
Alum Chine - Bournemouth ... dolphins - Handyside & Co.

Crocodile Fountain

Location: Concarneau, Brittany, France

The historical town of Concarneau was once a centre for shipbuilding and today is a large fishing port. Part of the town is behind a walled fortification which has been in existence since the 17th century. Known as the Ville Close it sits on an island in the harbour which is reached via a drawbridge.

Within the Ville Close at the  is a drinking fountain which was erected in 1856 to provide drinking water to the inhabitants. It was originally erected on the mainland at Pénéroff Place Saint-Guénoléquay where fishermen utilized it before heading out to sea. The fountain was relocated behind the walled town sometime between the post-war period and the1960s.

The fountain approximately 8 feet high is seated on an octagonal granite basin base designed by the famous architect Joseph Bigot. The drinking fountain is cast iron and is the work of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Claude Eugène Guillaume.

The rectangular column with attic base has a square foundation with chamfered corners and is surmounted by a lamp. On two sides a shield contains sculptured water lilies and bulrushes. The alternate sides containing the drinking fountains are more elaborate.

Floral relief is visible at the base of the shield which contains a human mask. A brass tap emerges from the mouth of the mask to release drinking water which then flows into a drain in the granite base. Two winged cherubs holding ribbons of flowers are seated above the panel. An acroter with chamfered corners supports statuary of a turtle and an otter in the company of a crocodile with head raised and mouth open. A fish is held between its teeth. The lamp terminal is surmounted on the fish.

The square and drinking fountain were restored in 2011.


  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources


East Drinking Fountain

Location: Austin, Texas, USA

An artesian well was built over the Trinity aquifer in 1889 to supply water to the Capitol. In 1903 a cast iron drinking fountain with overhead electric light fixture was placed over the well to provide the public with a drinking source. It is located on the east side of the great walk leading to the Capitol building’s main front entrance.

The canopied fountain was manufactured by J.W. Fiske of New York. Seated on a circular base with four stanchions, an elaborate pedestal supports the fluted basin. Four narrow columns with beaded detail and attic base support the solid dome. The capitals are acanthus. The terminal is a fish scale post with a large central globe and four smaller globes located in compass directions. The interior of the dome contains a cone shaped obelisk, with open lattice work and acanthus relief, which releases water into the basin by pressing on a foot lever. The fountain visible today is a reproduction. The original fountain offered a metal cup suspended on a chain.

An information plaque located nearby relays the history of the fountain. “The artesian well completed at this site in 1889 furnished an ample and inexpensive water supply for the new Capitol. At a depth of about 1,550 feet, natural pressure forced water from the Trinity aquifer to the surface. The powerful flow of water satisfied drinking, sanitary and fire protection needs for the Capitol. A coal-fired boiler converted the well water into steam, which turned the building’s first electric generator, and circulated through radiators to warm the Capitol’s interiors. The abundance of well water for irrigation made possible the first landscape improvements, including a lawn of sod and more than a 100 new trees. A cast-iron drinking fountain placed over the well in 1903, provided continuously running well water and metal drinking cups hanging from chains. Convinced that the mineralized water possessed medicinal value, visitors hauled it away in bottles for the next 73 years. In 1928, a granite water fountain replaced the cast-iron fixture. Officials closed the well in 1980 due to more stringent water quality standards. This reproduction fountain, installed in 1996, provides safe drinking water with a gentle step on the root lever.”


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal


Image Sources

Richard Russell Fountain

Location: Limerick, Munster, Ireland

Officially opened in 1877 the People’s Park was given to the people of Limerick in honour of Richard Russell, a prominent local businessman and highly regarded employer. A drinking fountain provided by employees of Russell Flour Mills and the former Carnegie Library was also unveiled at the same time.

In 2009 Limerick City Council and Limerick Civic Trust decided to restore the fountain as it had fallen into disrepair. The project was undertaken by Eura Conservation Ltd. funded by Limerick City Council, the Earl of Limerick Fund, the People’s Park Trustee Fund, Civic Trust resources and conservation money. The fountain was dismantled and shipped to England where it was blasted, cleaned, repaired and a paint analysis was done. Missing parts were recreated using moulds from a restoration of the same fountain design in Belfast which was also restored by Eura. After repainting the structure was weatherproofed.

It was returned to Limerick in November 2009. The fountain adorned with lights to illuminate the structure was rededicated by the mayor of Limerick, Kevin Kelly.

Drinking fountain number 2 is seated on an octagonal plinth and consists of eight columns supporting a large solid domed canopy. The open filigree frieze above the cornice is expanded to the interior of the dome, and the outer edge of the cornice is decorated with Maltese crosses. The ribs on the domed roof are outlined with stars or suns. The cupola trimmed with a rope design is surmounted with a weathervane finial identifying the four compass directions.

The wide based font, design number 13, was located on a raised and stepped platform. The central pedestal was supported by four columns stamped with a diamond pattern. Square capitals on each side of the dog toothed basin contain a seven pointed embellishment which may represent a star or the sun. This symbol also outlines the ribs on the domed roof. Four consoles with acanthus relief connect the central stanchion to the basin and originally supported drinking cups suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts released water flow. A multi-tiered circular column was surmounted by a studded orb terminal.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Consoles, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Dog toothed
  • 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 moulding 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
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal


Plaza de Cataluña Fountain

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Plaza de Cataluna at Arroya located in Buenos Aires hosts a replica of the Font de Canaletes drinking fountain in Barcelona, Spain. The fountain was donated to the city by Barcelona City Council in association with the Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona Company involved in water access in Argentina.

The dedication was attended by Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Fernando de la Rua in 1996. Not long after its installation the taps were vandalized and had to be rebuilt. The repair was sponsored by La Recova de Posadas, a local business.

The base of the fountain is a circular plinth which doubles as a drainage system. Four circular basins on pedestals surround the central column, and a small trough for dogs is located at ground level. The central column expands into the shape of an urn with four spigots, each surmounted by Barcelona’s coat of arms. An attic base supports a fluted roof from which rises a highly decorated column with four brackets supporting glass lanterns with crown finials. The apex of the structure resembles a pine cone. A plaque resting against the octagonal stone plinth states:

This fountain, a replica of the historic Font des Canaletes located on the Rambla de Canaletes in Barcelona, was donated to the city of Buenos Aires by the city of Barcelona and the joint partnership of Barcelona Water Company and Argentina Water.


  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Finial, A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Spigot, A device that controls the flow of liquid from a container


Image Sources



Sidney Fountain

Location: Stafford, Staffordshire, England

A fountain was erected on Gaol Square in 1889 in memory of Thomas Sidney who was born in a house on the Square in 1805. It was donated by his wife to honour her husband who became Lord Mayor of London, 1853 – 1854.

Drinking fountain number 19, was manufactured at Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland, and sat on a two tiered circular plinth. It had a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which was set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four troughs for dogs were set between four lion jambs that supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Horses also drank from the elevated basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief, swans and cranes. A dedication shield was mounted on the central column. A kylix-shaped vase terminal with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The fluted central column with two decorated brackets supported two lamps.

The statue of Samson was replaced within two decades and is currently part of the Staffordshire Museum collections. The central column was extended and a third lamp was erected at the apex. In 1916 the third lamp was removed, the column shortened and a clock with four faces installed. It was presented by George Bruckshaw to celebrate fifty years of residence in Stafford.

Unfortunately this fountain is no longer in existence. The fountain was destroyed by a motor vehicle in 1928. The clock was restored and mounted on a single post with four lamp globes facing compass directions. Although no vestige of the drinking fountain remained the clock was located near to the original location of Samson.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.


  • Kylix, a grecian style drinking cup
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources

Image produced from the Staffordshire Past Track service

With permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd.

And Ordnance Survey

Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service

Stafford Historical and Civic Society

Newcastle Borough Museum and Art Gallery


Sydney’s Fountains

Location: Sydney, Australia

Mayor Renny chose the design for the fountain from an illustrated catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co., ordering eight drinking fountains for the city of Sydney. They arrived in July 1870. Historical documents reveal that another two fountains were purchased sometime later.

  • Green Park, Darlinghurst Road
  • Wentworth Park, East end
  • Wentworth Park, West end
  • Prince’s Street near the Public school
  • Hunter Street and O’Connell Street
  • Loftus House at Custom House
  • Moore Park, Randwick Road
  • Moore Park, Cleveland Street
  • Prince Alfred Park, Exhibition building
  • Beare Park, Elizabeth Bay

Drinking fountains at Loftus House (Macquarie Place), Beare Park and Railway Square have been previously documented. You can view them by using the search box on the home page.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. 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 contained within each lunette host the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying 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.’ The remaining two lunettes contain the City of Sydney Coat of Arms: a shield charged with a ship and beehive and working bees, surmounted by a mural crown impaled with a pick-axe surmounted by a star. The sinister supporter is an aboriginal native with a spear; the dexter supporter an English sailor. Motto, “I take, but I surrender.” 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 stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 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. The original font no longer exists and has been replaced with bubblers.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic ofguardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.


  • 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

Image Sources

In Gratitude
Many thanks to ‘PellethePoet’ who supplied me with links to 19th century photographs at the NSW archives