‘The Black Statue’ Fountain

Location: Kettering, Northamptonshire, England

A drinking fountain was donated in 1894 to the town by local man John Bryan, a successful boot and shoe manufacturer. It was erected in Rockingham Pleasure Park and officially unveiled on October 26th.

After vandals damaged the structure in 1972 it was removed to storage at the Westfield Museum where it remained until the 1980s when a local group led by hotelier Sylvia McQuade petitioned the town for its restoration and reinstatement. Funds for the project were raised through the auction of a watercolour and the sale of a book of poetry and prose. It was reinstalled and officially unveiled by Mayor J. B. Poole who served from 1984-1985.

The fountain known locally as the Black Statue was moved in 1998 to the redeveloped Horse Market in the Town Centre.

Design number 19 was advertised by Walter Macfarlane & Co. to be used as a standalone fountain or placed under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the cast iron font is 10’ 10” high and is seated on a two tiered circular plinth. The wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The obelisk and central column decorated with floral relief hosts a dedication shield: Presented / by / John Bryan Esq / 26 October / 1894. Four consoles originally protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson.

A brass plaque fixed to the base of the fountain is inscribed;
THIS FORMER DRINKING FOUNTAIN HAS BEEN RESTORED WITH THE AID OF FUNDS
RAISED BY THE Victorian Restoration Committee:
Sylvia McQuade (Hon. Secretary) Thomas J. Hawthorn (Hon. Treasurer)
Joanne M. Chatwin, David Chatwin, Duncan McQuade (Committee Members)
VOLUNTARY RESTORATION WORKS WERE CARRIED OUT BY Timsons Ltd., Engineers
& Ironfounders, Edward Chenay & Sons Ltd., Paul Webster (Builders)
Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd., George James & Sons (Blacksmith) Ltd.
THE FUND WAS LAUNCHED FROM THE PROCEEDS OF AN AUCTION BY Martin
Pendered (Auctioneer) OF A WATER COLOUR ‘The Fountain’ DONATED BY
Pauline & Ralph Hartley. THE FUND WAS SUPPORTED BY THE PUBLICATION
AND SALE OF A BOOK ‘Poetry and Prose from Kettering and parts of
the County of Northamptonshire’. Reinstatement of the fountain was carried
out by the Kettering Borough Council with the co-operation of the Restoration
Committee, Mayor J. B. Poole 1984 -1985.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
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