Emanuel Emanuel Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Called an officious little Jew by the Hampshire Telegraph in 1849 during a period of latent antisemitism, Alderman Emanual Emanuel was a leading force in reforming the town of Portsmouth. Although he refused to take the mandatory Christian oath of office, his focus nonetheless was a fearless spokesman for the advancement of the community. He was a leading force in many important projects i.e. securing water and gas supplies, promoting the railway to London, securing land for Victoria Park (now known as the People’s Park), creating piers and construction of the Esplanade. He became the first Jewish Mayor of Portsmouth in 1849.

He died in 1888 and was celebrated with a huge public funeral. His children donated a memorial drinking fountain to the Portsmouth Corporation five years later. It was erected at South Parade where it remained from 1893 to 1934. When it became an obstacle to motor traffic, the structure was relocated to the western end of the Canoe Lake. The Fountain was restored in 1962, 1991 and 2005, and was recorded as a Grade: II listed building on March 18th, 1999.

The Fountain is design #126 manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Company in Shropshire. The structure is seated on a square plinth with canted corners. A granite base supports the rounded polished granite pedestal bearing the 5ft 4ins high bronze figure of Temperentia by John Bell. The pedestal offers two taps for drinking which originally contained cups suspended on chains. The bronze statue with wings close to the body has her head lowered as she watches a dove seated on her right hand drink from a water-lily in her left hand.

An inscription on the back of the base reads: In Memory Of Emanuel Emanuel, Alderman, J.P. / Who Was Mayor Of Portsmouth 1866-67 / This Fountain Was Given To The People Of Portsmouth / By His Son And Daughter / Barrow Emanuel And Lady Magnus / Aldn. R. Barnes, Mayor 1893.

A cast iron canopy over the drinking fountain is supported by four columns; the base of each is gilded with the letters CBD (Coalbrookdale). The columns are sculpted in the form of a vine; internal and external capitals are gilded water lilies with acorn finials (originally these finials were four glazed lanterns). The vines connect in an arch on each of the four sides, and above each arch are intersecting vines and water-lilies.

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Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
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