Alderman Hawkins Fountain

Location: Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England

In 1885 this drinking fountain was presented by Alderman Hawkins of Field and Hawkins, a prominent draper’s shop which stood on the north side of the Market Place. It was relocated from the Market Place after being damaged by a lorry to the Bull Croft Park, a 19 acre meadow in the north west of the town. The Market Place was eventually turned into a pedestrian precinct, and the fountain was returned to its original location in 1979. A plaque was placed at the base, This Drinking Fountain Originally Sited In The / Market Place In 1885, But Later Removed To The / Bull Croft, Was Returned In August 1979.

The structure was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 9 February 1988.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure, 9 feet 6 inches high, is seated on a square 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, the town crest, and a dedication shield, Presented / By / Alderman / Hawkins / 1885. 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 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.

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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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Posted on March 8, 2015, in Architecture, BrItish Listed Building, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, England, Saracen Foundry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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