Location: The Green, Shirehampton, Bristol, England
A cast iron drinking fountain originally located on a triangle of land at the northern edge of the Parade between Park Hill and High Street was erected in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The fountain was registered as a Grade II Historic Building on 8 January 1959.
Through a project funded by the Shirehampton Community Group (by public subscription) and the Bristol City Council the entire fountain was repaired, cleaned and repainted in the autumn of 1998.
Verse from an old Shirehampton folk song:
I met me first love in the village
(name of Mary-jean)
We shar’d a cup of water from
The fountain on the Green
We first sang carols there together
One cold Christmas Eve
Then went into The George to drink
Before I took me leave.
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, (griffins no longer exist on this structure).
Rope moulded cartouches contained within each lunette host the image of a crane, and a bust of Queen Victoria. On two sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; Queen Victoria’s Daimond Jubiliee 1897 is displayed above the bust of the Monarch. 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.’ and the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry were common features of this casting. 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.
- 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