Bowring Park Trough

Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Armine Gosling, an advocate for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and wife of Mayor John Gosling (1916-1921), inspired the creation and erection of a horse trough in the downtown area at the intersection of Water Street and Beck’s Cove where it was used by draymen who lined up for blocks to enable their horses to drink. However in 1946, due to the introduction of the automobile, the trough was moved from the commercial centre of the town to the east end of Water Street where horses were still being used in industry. NOTE: The websites of the Newfoundland Tourism and Bowring Park identify that it was moved from the east end of Duckworth Street near the War Memorial (Duckworth and Water Street run parallel with the War Memorial in between.)

In the 1950s it was relocated to the docks, a site of rusty fences and garish billboards, where it became almost invisible due to overgrown weeds. Plans to restore the trough and move it to Bowring Park which were initiated in 1965 were met with some dissension by the St. John’s branch of S.P.C.A. who suggested that it may still be required by thirsty horses. After monitoring its use for three weeks with ne’er a horse in sight the proposed move was settled. It now resides within the park on the north side of the paved road leading up to the Bungalow.

During the early 20th century there were many troughs throughout the city which were slowly eradicated due to lack of use.

  1. Hamilton and New Gower Streets
  2. Duckworth Street at the foot of Bates Hill
  3. Cavendish Square near the Newfoundland Hotel
  4. Prescott Street near Rawlins Cross

A single pedestal with attic base contains three small demi-lune basins, with arch recess, at ground level for the use of dogs. Supporting a large demi-lune fluted trough the pedestal contains 4 panels with bas-relief – a standing horse and two lion masks. An egg and dart moulding sits below the cornice. The structure is surmounted by an orb finial.

Glossary:

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
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