Brown Memorial Fountain

Location: Lodge/Court Street, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland

Cast by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, this drinking fountain was erected in 1924 from a monetary donation by Mrs. Brown to the town; hence the historical reference of the Brown Memorial Fountain.

Design number 19 (10’ 10” high) was seated on a two tier circular plinth. It has a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils (still visible) protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

During restoration in 1998 the drinking fountain was converted to an ornamental fountain and now rests on a square plinth set inside a large circular stone basin. A green cast iron railing acts as a barrier and a decorative element. The design consists of thistles alternating with gold stars. Four large brass taps have been added from which water pours into the basins. Lights are positioned around the circumference of the stone basin and jets spray water towards the structure.

Tourists are often tempted to throw coins into the basin wishing for good luck. These funds are periodically donated to charity. As the fountain is in the town centre, it is occasionally the target of pranksters. One highly successful prank involved soap powder which led to suds pouring onto the High Street.

The fountain was listed a category C historic building in 1977. It was cleaned and repainted in 1998.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • 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, an upright bar or post providing support
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