Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Askam-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

In the late 19th century, the people of Askam-in-Furness made monetary donations to purchase a cast iron water fountain in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The fountain is located near the railway crossing at Duke Street and was erected in 1897. The structure which was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 6 May 1976 was recently vandalized in April 2015 when the commemoration plaque was stolen.

In the late 19th century, the people of Askam-in-Furness made monetary donations to purchase a cast iron water fountain in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The fountain is located near the railway crossing at Duke Street and was erected in 1897. The structure which was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 6 May 1976 was recently vandalized in April 2015 when the commemoration plaque was stolen.

Design number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded roundels within each lunette offered shields for dedication. 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 cartouche within the lunette facing Duke Street contains a dedication: ERECTED / IN / COMMEMORATION OF / HER MAJESTY’S / DIAMOND JUBILEE / 1897 and above, KEEP THE PAVEMENT DRY. The cartouche at the rear of the structure depicts a bust of Queen Victoria. The remaining cartouches contain cranes. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the apex being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (casting 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 offered drinking cups suspended by chains, and the original terminal was a crane. These items are missing from the current structure.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Roundel, A small circular decorative plate
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
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Posted on June 9, 2015, in Architecture, BrItish Listed Building, Cast Iron, England, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Queen Victoria Jubilee, Saracen Foundry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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