Clerkenwell Green Fountain

Location: Clerkenwell, England

The name of Clerkenwell originates from the Clerk’s Well in Farringdon Lane. A well and pump which had been installed in 1856 was replaced in 1862 with a cast iron drinking fountain. Funds for the fountain were raised from local subscribers and donated by The Good Samaritan Temperance Society.

Clerkenwell Green was a meeting place for speakers and political activists in the 19th century, and as such, the fountain became a focal point.

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In the late 1870s the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association erected a stone horse trough near the fountain. The trough and fountain were later relocated within the Green, but by the 1930s the fountain had been removed. The horse trough is still in existence.

wikimedia Cattle_Trough

The drinking fountain was manufactured by Andrew Handyside and Co. of Derby, England and is design number 48 in the 1877 catalogue.

Resting on a circular concrete plinth with concrete steps, the cylindrical structure with attic base supported a three tiered acroter. Six fluted columns and decorative volutes supported a cupola with Neptune mask frieze. A solid dome was surmounted by a sculptured urn and a gilded finial of a putto carrying an urn on his shoulder. The statue was no longer in evidence after 1880. The font itself consisted of a shallow fluted basin. (The same casting can be found at Pancras Old Church, Camden Town – see photographs within this site by using the search parameter, Pancras)


  • Acroter, a flat base
  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Cupola, A small, domed structure on top of a roof
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Volute, a spiral scroll-like ornament found in the capital of a column

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