Band of Hope Fountain

Location: Alexandra Park, Manchester, England

In the mid-19th century, a Temperance group named Band of Hope was founded in Leeds. It was directed towards working class children who were abused and maltreated often due to the effects of alcohol use within the family. From the age of six members were required to take a pledge of total abstinence.

“I shall always be of my best behaviour,
Shall give of my best service,
And God helping me,
I will refrain from all alcoholic drink. Amen.”

The Band of Hope also instilled high moral values to assist them in becoming valuable members of society. Weekly meetings which included lectures and activities were an escape from the poverty and tedium of working class children.

A drinking fountain cast by Andrew Handyside’s Brittania Iron Works was commissioned by the members of 17 Bands of Hope in Chorlton and Hulme. It was erected in Alexandra Park on 23 Sep 1876.

Alexandra Park 1954

Alexandra Park 1954

Casting number 48 was originally seated on an octagonal plinth with two stone steps to assist the reach of smaller individuals. The cylindrical structure with attic base was comprised of six fluted columns with decorative volutes which support a cupola with Neptune mask frieze and a cornice with leaf detail. The solid dome was surmounted by a sculptured basin and a putto carrying an urn on his shoulder. The original font was an unusual form resembling a capped urn with lion masks spouting water. A dedication plaque was attached to the cylindrical base.

Brittania Iron Works casting 48

Brittania Iron Works casting 48

In 2012 a planned restoration of the park funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Manchester City Corporation included restoring the fountain which retained little of the original design elements: the putto was missing, corrosion had caused the domed roof to collapse, the font was broken, and the structure had been tagged with graffiti.

Heritage Project Contracts, specializing in cultural heritage and historic buildings, utilized blast cleaning to remove decades of paint and rust. Hargreaves Foundry of Halifax was hired to recreate missing elements from photographs. The restoration was completed in September 2014.

Glossary

  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Cornice, A molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, A small, domed structure on top of a roof
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mask, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Putto, A figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Volute, a spiral scroll-like ornament found in the capital of a column
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