Market Place Fountain and Trough

Location: Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England

In 1887 Ilkeston became a Borough. To commemorate the town’s new status a combination drinking fountain and horse trough was donated by Mayor William Wade and erected at the Market Place in 1889. The cast iron structure was manufactured by Andrew Handyside’s Britannia Ironworks in Derby, England. Seated on a trefoil base of Aberdeen Granite, the original features contained three stone steps, a drinking fountain on the west side, horse troughs on the east, north and south sides and a centre lamp consisting of three gas globes.

The structure has undergone many changes over the years including the disappearance of the lowest step which was covered over in previous decades and only discovered when the fountain was removed for restoration. The three gas globes, which were removed to install electricity, were replaced with two square glass lamps with pointed finials. The horse troughs, no longer required after the advent of motorized vehicles, became receptacles for litter and were filled in. The drinking fountain became a source of health concerns and was disconnected.

The multi-use water feature was restored in 1980 and listed as a Grade II historic building on 6 November 1986. The use of incorrect materials during repairs in 1980 caused rapid decay of the cast iron, and the entire structure was removed from the site in 2008 for further restoration. The contract was awarded to Dorothea Restorations Ltd. with funding from English Heritage and the Ilkeston HERS project.

The front of the structure faces east and sits on a trefoil base. The central stanchion consists of a pedestal with two canted corner piers with shell decoration. The piers support putti, seated on a block of floral decoration, holding water urns. The Lancet arch is flanked by pilasters. Water spouts from the mouth of a mascaron, and the manufacturer’s stamp is visible at water level; Handyside & Co Ltd Derby. The capital consists of a smaller version of the trefoil troughs. Within the angle of each upper basin is a square console with crown and a bracket connecting to the lamp pillar. The pillar consists of a twisted cable design supporting a lamp configuration of three glass globes.

The west side of the feature allowed access to the top tier of the fountain by way of three steps. A metal cup was suspended by a chain to allow humans to drink from the refreshing water. A dedication shield is displayed on the panel; Erected / By The / Corporation / 1889 / William Wade Esq / Mayor

A shield in the paving around the fountain contains the Borough Coat of Arms and an inscription; This fountain was refurbished by / Erewash Borough Council with match / funding from English Heritage / and opened by / Councillor Barbara Harrison / Mayor of Erewash / on the 6th June 2008.


  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure Lancet Arch
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pier, a platform extending over water
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes



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