Alexander Graham Memorial Drinking Fountain
Location: Stromness, Orkney, Scotland
In the 18th century the Royal Burgh of Kirkwall had exclusive foreign trading rights preventing Stromness to trade abroad. Alexander Graham, a 18th century merchant, led the successful revolt which reversed this monopoly. He is commemorated on a drinking fountain located on Victoria Street at Pierhead. It was erected in 1901 to honour his efforts.
The 18 ft. drinking fountain was casting #27 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. at 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 provided a drinking trough for horses with a small recessed basin for dogs at ground level. The trough was a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. A central fluted column was capped with a hexagonal lantern with scales of opal glass that cast the light downwards (design number 223).The lantern has changed throughout the centuries with advances in lighting.
A shield on the post is inscribed: Alexander Graham / Died 16th April 1783 / The Fountain Is Erected To Perpetuate / The Memory Of Alexander Graham / A Native Of This Town Who During The / Years 1743-1758, At Great Pecuniary / Sacrifice To Himself Fought The / Royal Burgh Of Kirkwall As Repre /Senting The Convention Of Royal Burghs / In The Law Courts, And Was Ultimately / Successful In Obtaining A Verdict Which / Freed Stromness From Paying Cess To / Kirkwall And At The Same Time All Other / Towns In Scotland Similarly Situated Were / Thus Delivered From The Thraldom / Of The Royal Burghs / 1901 / Andrew Wylie / Provost
Originally and now missing, were four projecting consoles which suspended cups to allow humans to drink from the spouting water whilst horses drank from the large basin.
- Cess, a local tax
- Console, a decorative bracket support element
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
Posted on October 3, 2015, in Architecture, Cast Iron, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry, Scotland, Trough and tagged Alexander Graham, Andrew Wylie, Orkney, Pierhead, Royal Burgh Of Kirkwall, Stromness. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.