Le Cinque Lampade Fountain

Location: Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland

There were five streets at the Foot of Leith Walk: Duke Street; Great Junction Street; Constitution Street; Kirkgate and Leith Walk. In this location there was a drinking fountain with five ornamental lamps. The area was known by the Italian community as Le Cinque Lampade.

Circa 1891. Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: www.capitalcollections.org.uk

Circa 1891. Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: http://www.capitalcollections.org.uk

Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: www.capitalcollections.org.uk

Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: http://www.capitalcollections.org.uk

The casting, manufactured by McDowall, Steven & Co.’s Milton Works in Glasgow, was removed and many nearby buildings demolished to build North British Railways’ Leith Central Station which was completed in 1903. There was a belief that perhaps the structure was at the Dalton Scrap Metal Merchant on Constitution Street in Leith, but this has been refuted by the company. It is quite possible that this ‘lost’ fountain was melted during World War II to supply armaments for the war effort.

Circa 1900.  Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: www.capitalcollections.org.uk

Circa 1900. Copyright City of Edinburgh Council. Source: http://www.capitalcollections.org.uk

The drinking fountain supplied fresh water to animals and humans. It was seated on a rectangular stone plinth. A square base housed small demilune basins at ground level for dogs, and four large quatrefoil basins for horses. The highly decorated stanchion and central column were decorated with acanthus and floral relief. Lion masks, a symbol of guardianship, spouted water from which humans drank using metal cups suspended on consoles. A dolphin, symbolizing guardians of water, flanked each side of the stanchion. The base of the lamp column contained 4 mascarons crowned with a shell motif. The Corinthian column supported a central lantern with four additional lanterns on elaborate palmette consoles. The six sided glass pane lanterns were capped with a ball and spike finial.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • 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

A similar lamp structure was located at the junction of Princes Street and Waverley Bridge. It was most likely removed when electricity was introduced, and with the advent of the motor vehicle it would have been an obstacle.

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Posted on February 10, 2015, in Architecture, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, Lost, McDowall Steven & Co. Ltd, Scotland and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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