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



2 responses to “Sidney Fountain

  • Gail Roger

    Thank you ever so much for the link to Staffordshire Past Tracks! Thanks to your meticulousness, I was able to find an 1877 photograph of the inn my great-great-great-grandparents ran on Eastgate Street in Stafford in the latter half of the nineteenth century! I’m sure that they must have passed the Sidney Fountain many times!

  • HIS

    So glad the link was able to provide you with what you were looking for. I have also researched my family history. and I know how exciting it is to find something in the most unexpected of places!

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