The cast iron canopied drinking fountain was situated beside Elland Road near the footpath across the middle of the Moor. It was erected in the late 19th century with subscriptions from the Band of Hope, a Temperance group founded in Leeds which was directed towards working class children who were abused and maltreated often due to the effects of alcohol use within the family. A 1908 map shows the drinking fountain in situ. It may have been removed for road widening of the M621 or for recycling of the iron for armaments during World War 1.
Cross Flatts became a public park in 1891 after the Low Moor Company, local pit owners and the last owners of the land previously owned by Benjamin and Joseph Rogers, sold the 44 acre area to the Leeds Corporation. The drinking fountain was located at the bottom end of the park near the main gate at Dewsbury Road. The structure deteriorated over decades until only the basin remained in the 1960’s. It was then utilized as a container for plants.
The pattern for both fountains was the same although it has been reported that the fountain at Cross Flatts had only two drinking cups in opposition to the four cup design.
Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure was 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.
Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the image of a crane, and on two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure was surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.
Under the canopy stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane.
Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.
- Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
- Console: a decorative bracket support element
- Filigree, fine ornamental work
- Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- Fret, running or repeated ornament
- Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
- Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
- Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
- Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
- Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal