Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain

Location: Folkestone, Kent, England

The Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain was erected by public subscription in 1897 in remembrance of Weston who was a Christian philanthropist, a tireless temperance advocate and a member of The Society Of Friends (Quakers). An obituary published to mark his death summarised his achievements as a professional photographer who numbered among his patrons members of the Royal Family and many of the nobility.

The fountain which originally stood at the Leas Promenade was used as a public drinking fountain until it was moved to its present location at Wear Bay Road circa 1920 to allow for the construction of the War Memorial to the dead of WWI (unveiled on 2nd December 1922). The fountain was restored in 1981 by the New Folkestone Society and repainted in 2006. However, it was vandalised only three years later. A donation from Councillor Roland Tolputt in 2010 funded the repair of the pump and filters.

The drinking fountain is a variation of Andrew Handyside & Co.’s design #16 manufactured at the Brittania Iron Works. The structure is seated on a circular plinth. A quatrefoil base forms a shallow trough in which the central pedestal stands. Four piers support putti holding water urns while seated on a block of floral decoration. A dedication panel is attached to the flat surface of a pier. Erected / 1897 / By Public Subscription / In Memory Of / Sidney Cooper Weston / Of This Town / Christian Philanthropist / And / Gospel Temperance Advocate / Born Dec 29th 1842 / Died Jan 25th 1893 / Psalm 41.1 Blessed Is He That / Considereth The Poor.

Within the recessed canted corner of each pier is a shield with roundel surmounted by a fluted demi-lune basin into which a mascaron of Poseidon spouts water. Each mascaron is bound on the side by a decorate pilaster in scroll form and bordered above with a fluted cornice into which is an engraved block; Restored / By The / New / Folkestone / Society / 1981.

The bulbous base of the fluted column is decorated with acanthus leaves. Two decorative bands lead to the enriched Corinthian capital which supports a central lamp with two additional lamps on elaborate consoles.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pier, a platform extending over water
  • 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.
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • 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
  • Roundel, a small circular decorative plate
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2 responses to “Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain

  • Terry Begent

    The New Folkestone Society is once again looking at the Simon Cooper Weston fountain with a view to moving it to a more prominent spot and/or getting it listed. Your blog has shown that there seem to be few fountains around that were cast in the same foundry (Andrew Handyside and Co) which makes it more important to protect this one. There is one other that popped up from Google that isn’t on your site (Tan Kim Seng Fountain in Singapore) but this is described on Wikipaedia.
    The Weston fountain was originally sited on the Leas, as you say, but this was also where the local horse-drawn taxis queued to pick up trade from the main shopping street (Sandgate Road) about 50 yards away. I suspect that the lower troughs may have been included in the design for their benefit.
    I have an old postcard (1914) showing it in its original position – surrounded by carriages and would be happy to email to you if you let me have an address.
    The fountain was moved from its original site to allow for the construction of the town’s war memorial – unveiled 2nd December 1922

  • HIS

    Thank you for comment and interest in my blog. It’s nice to know that is a useful tool with regards to restoration and listing purposes. The fountain in Singapore is under the category of spray fountains and I only research drinking fountains but thank you for the suggestion. I would love to have a copy of the old postcard. Many thanks hiszafer@hotmail.com

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