Redcar Drinking Fountain

Location: Redcar, North Yorkshire, England

The great need for a drinking fountain in the mid-19th century in the town of Redcar was fulfilled when funding was supplied by subscription and a donation from the Earl of Zetland. The ornate cast iron drinking fountain outside Potts Cottage in the High Street was demolished when a car collided with it in 1923.

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. 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 is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with extended spike (terminal #231).

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.

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 The description in the catalogue read: The structure consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorative mouldings, encircling ornamental shields. On two of the sides provision is made for receiving an inscription; whilst on the other two sides is the useful monition, “Keep the Pavement Dry.” Surmounting this is an open and highly enriched dome, the apex being occupied by a crown. Under the canopy stands the font, with basin 2 feet 6 inches in diameter. Price, ready for fitting up, with four water supply taps, and four drinking cups, delivered in Glasgow:- £27.10.0

 Glossary

  • 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
  • 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
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Posted on March 11, 2016, in Architecture, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, England, Lost, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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