North Pier Blackpool Fountain

Location: Blackpool, Lancashire, England

On 18 April 1870, Easter Monday, an elaborate canopied drinking fountain on Talbot Square was officially opened to coincide with the recently completed promenade between Cocker Square and Station Road.

The cast iron structure erected in front of the Clifton Arms Hotel on the North Pier was designed and cast by George Smith & Co., of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow. The purchase and erection costs were financed by local subscriptions, private donors, the proceeds of public readings, athletic contests, and brass-band performances.

Drinking fountain number 2 was seated on a three tiered octagonal stone plinth and consisted of eight columns supporting a ribbed, solid dome, bronze canopy. The ribs on the domed roof were outlined with stars (or suns), and flying birds (or seagulls) perched on scrollwork consoles.

The open filigree frieze above the cornice expanded to the interior of the dome, and leaves decorated the outer edge of the cornice. The cupola, trimmed with rope design, acted as a capital for the four sided clock. The finial was an orb and spike with combination weathervane.

A single central gas lantern illuminated the interior of the structure. The wide based font, design number 13, was located on a raised and stepped platform. The central pedestal was supported by four columns stamped with a diamond pattern. Square capitals on each side of the dog toothed basin contain a seven pointed embellishment which may represent a star or the sun. This symbol also outlined the ribs on the domed roof. Four consoles with acanthus relief connected the central stanchion to the basin and originally supported drinking cups suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts released water flow. A multi-tiered circular column was surmounted by a studded orb terminal.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Consoles, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
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