Pearson Park Fountain

Location: Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England

Henry John Atkinson, a ship owner and a politician who was Mayor of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1864 and 1865, presented this fountain to the town in 1864. It was erected in Pearson Park and stands on a two tiered square plinth. The fountain was recorded as a Grade II listed building in 1994. It was restored in 1980 after many years of neglect and vandalism by T. H. Dick & Co. Ltd. under the management of a charitable trust of the City Council, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The structure consisted of 24 separate castings slotted together with leaded joints of which approximately 14 castings were broken, cracked or missing. Many years of paint and corrosion were removed from the castings to enable them to be used as patterns. The moulders of T. H. Dick & Co. Ltd. using their artisan skills created moulds from the broken sections by carving out small missing sections and adding contraction to enable the new castings to fit with the old. The result is a beautifully restored piece of Victorian street furniture still in use today (per 2016).

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The 9 feet 6 inches high structure stands on a two tiered stone plinth 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, a dedication shield with the inscription, Presented by Henry John Atkinson 1864, the town’s coat of arms represented by three stacked crowns, 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.’ 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 missing finial was 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 standard terminal with this design was a crane atop an urn.

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

 

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4 responses to “Pearson Park Fountain

  • HIS

    Thanks Pelle. I’ve contacted the Flickr account owner to get permission to use.

  • Shaun Ashurst

    Pearson Park Fountain Restored with replacement castings around 1980 not 2008 by myself at T.H.Dick&co ltd.
    The Requirements.

    After many years of neglect and vandalism we received the part remains of a Victorian drinking fountain circa 1860. The complete assembly consisted of 24 separate castings which slotted together with leaded joints. About 14 of these castings were broken, cracked or missing.

    Our Solution

    We removed many years of paint and corrosion from the complete and broken castings so these could be used as patterns. Our skilled moulders created moulds from the broken sections using their artisan skills by carving out small missing sections and adding contraction so the new castings would fit together with the old. The result is a beautifully restored piece of Victorian street furniture still in use today

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