Drinking Fountain and Clock Towers

Location: Glasgow in Scotland, and Leeds in England

Three identical fountains were erected in the late 19th century; Glasgow Gorbals in 1878, Woodhouse Moor, Leeds in 1879; and Hunslet Moor, Leeds in 1880. They were manufactured by George Smith’s Sun Foundry in Glasgow. Unfortunately these fountains no longer exist.

Gorbals Cross was widened in the late 19th century to create a public space at the junction of Ballater and Gorbals streets. The stone structure with cast iron clock and drinking fountain containing shields bearing the Glasgow Coat of Arms was erected in 1878. It was demolished in 1932. Two faces of the clock were retained and mounted on a simple post which also no longer exists.

In 2015 a community group applied for a grant from Historic Scotland to recreate the drinking fountain by taking a 3D laser scan of the structure in Basseterre to recreate working blueprints.


Hunslet Moor was a 68 acre open space which Leeds Corporation purchased in 1879 to create a public park. A combination clock tower and drinking fountain was erected in 1880, donated by William Emsley, a local solicitor who became Mayor in 1888. It was located at the beginning of the footpath into the park, on Moor Road facing the tramway and contained shields displaying Leeds’ coat of arms. The structure disappeared circa 1955 most likely to accommodate the creation of the M621 which would link major industrial cities.

Woodhouse Moor has already been posted, see: https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/woodhouse-moor-fountain/

The only existing model of this pattern is in Bassettere in St Kitts, West Indies, which has been researched previously and can be found here: https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/?s=basseterre

Design number 1, drinking fountain with clock tower, was manufactured by George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry in Glasgow, and consisted of a modified octagonal base forming the shape of cross which contained a basin within each of the four recesses. A single rectangular pedestal was divided into five levels with the use of acroteria and cornices. The upper levels were supported by four columns with gas lamp terminals.

Arches offered space for memorial inscriptions and had lunettes with a barometer and thermometer. A demi-lune basin with tap provided drinking water. In the upper tiers shields were offered on each inset square panel, and provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters. A clock face pointed in each compass direction. The capital supported a weather vane surmounted on a four tiered acroteria.


  • Acroteria, an ornament placed on a flat base and mounted at the apex of the pediment
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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