Monthly Archives: September 2015

Bridgend Fountain

Location: Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland

The Irvine river which flows through this town is renowned for flooding its banks, and a severe epidemic of cholera in 1849 was attributed to the river. As numerous public wells around Newmilns were polluted to some degree, a decision was made in 1888 to create a gravitation water supply via a reservoir to be developed at Allanton Plains near Loudoun Hill.

A drinking fountain to supply drinking water to humans and horses was presented to the town by Provost Joseph Hood, the owner of a lace mill and a member of the town’s Total Abstinence Society. The fountain was erected in 1890 at the corner of Bridgend and Main Street.

The 18 ft. drinking fountain was number 27 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was well suited for Street Crossings, Squares, Market Places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

The structure, seated on a circular plinth, provided a drinking trough for horses from which overflow water filled a small basin for dogs at ground level. The trough was a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The central fluted column offered a shield for inscription. Four projecting consoles suspended cups allowing humans to drink from the spouting water whilst horses drank from the large basin. Three glass lanterns were supported by elaborate scrollwork consoles. Fueled originally with paraffin, the lanterns were later replaced with a single gas lamp. The column was also used as a street directional sign.

A second drinking fountain specifically for human use was located near the tollbooth in Main Street. Without a clear photo it is impossible to categorically identify; however, it looks remarkably like casting #48 manufactured by Andrew Handyside in Derby, England.

Glossary

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
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Hedgemead Park Fountain

Location: Bath, Somerset, England

Hedgemead Park, situated below Camden Crescent, was the scene of a landslide in the 1870s in which houses collapsed. The land remained derelict for many years until the city created a plan to transform it into a park. Designed by T.B. Silcock, it was engineered to prevent future landslides and formally opened in 1889.

A drinking fountain was erected around the same time possibly 1890. Seated on a triple tiered octagonal plinth it was manufactured at Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. The drinking fountain, 10’ 10” high, is a customized structure created with font number 18; a wide base with canted corners on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with projecting acanthus leaves and relief of willow leaves and berries. Column number 32 with four consoles protruding from the column originally suspended drinking cups on chains. The capital supports an octagonal ogee pedestal surmounted by an eagle with outstretched wings.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions were symbolic of guardianship, and eagles represented salvation.

The drinking fountain, although no longer functioning, was recorded as a Grade II historic building on 15 October 2010.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Ogee, curve with a concave
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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, an upright bar or post providing support