Dunbar Drinking Fountain

In the 19th century clean drinking water was a major issue causing outbreaks of typhoid. The drinking fountain on Queen’s Road was supplied courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy of Winton Castle and Estate. The history of the drinking fountain is recorded on a marker at the intersection of Queen’s Road and Church Street.

flickr_Paul readman

Used with permission, Paul Readman. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/redmaaan/6100230442/in/photostream

“The cast iron drinking fountain formerly at Bayswell Park was placed here by Dunbar Community Council and East Lothian Council in February 2007 to commemorate the official inauguration of a new water supply for Dunbar on 14th March 1896. The ceremony took place at this location.

In response to a serious typhoid outbreak in the town in the autumn and winter of 1895/6 they reacted quickly. A new source of water was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy of Biel.

This came from the Cauld and Howe Burns at Halls Farm. The inauguration ceremony included a grand procession held in bitterly cold conditions. Provost James Brand invited Mrs. Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy to declare the supply open. She did so and presumable turned it on. There was a strong gust of wind and a sudden spray of clear water descended on those nearby.

On the day, the fountain was referred to as the Jubilee Fountain, in anticipation of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It was replaced by a more useful combined gas light standard and horse trough in the reign of King Edward VII.”

The fountain designed by the foundry of David King & Sons (Glasgow) was listed a Category C historic building on 11 January 1988. An octagonal base decorated with rosettes and egg and dart frieze supports a spiral fluted pedestal and a large basin. The pedestal is elongated with an octagonal capital decorated with alternate panels of rosettes and spigots. Four ornamental scroll consoles which protrude from the tapering shaft originally supported drinking cups. The finial is a tapered extension with two spheres.

A combined gas light standard and horse trough replaced the drinking fountain presumably when it was relocated to Bayswell Park. Photographs of the horse trough identify it outside the Temperance Hotel named Hillside Pension on Queen’s Road. (The Temperance Movement aimed to curb the consumption of strong spirits – it was not a total abstinence movement – wine and beer were an acceptable alternative to unclean, untreated, drinking water.) The design of the horse trough and lantern are similar to design number 46 offered by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. It provided a large circular trough for horses with small basins for dogs at ground level.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Egg and dart, a carving of alternating oval shapes and dart or arrow shapes
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Spigot, a device that controls the flow of liquid
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