Monthly Archives: March 2017

Town Hall Fountain

Location: Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England

The 17th century Town Hall consists of a half-timbered building and a town gate. It was renovated to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee, and at the same time a drinking well operated by pump, was replaced with a drinking fountain mounted on the wall.

Casting number 15 (2 ft 9 x 1ft 9) from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s Saracen Foundry is a wall mounted drinking fountain with a fluted demi-lune basin. An arch faceplate, now blank, once bore the inscription “Keep the Pavement dry”. The interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap protrudes. Two doves represent the symbolism of the spirit drinking from the water of life. A single drinking cup on a chain is suspended on a decorative console.


Used with permission, Eve Parry. Source:


  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

Cleethorpes Drinking Fountain

Location: Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England

When the bucket fountain was removed from St. James Square in the 1970s, a canopied drinking fountain was installed in its place (unfortunately, I cannot find any information on the original location of this drinking fountain which was officially unveiled in 1869 by Mayor Edward John Bannister.) It was restored in 1977 and recorded as a Grade II historic building on 30 June 1999, and then delisted in November of the same year. It was removed and put into storage by North East Lincolnshire Council.

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. Griffin terminals spouting water united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Four rope moulded cartouches hosted the Great Grimsby Coat of Arms comprised of a chevron between three boars’ heads, and two inscriptions Presented By The Mayor 1869, and Restored Jubilee Year 1977. The arches above two lunettes were inscribed with 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 this design usually contained a font with a crane terminal. However, the crane is not present in photographic evidence which probably means that it was either stolen or removed. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) 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 fountain was operated by pressing a button. Water also spouted from the mouths of the griffin capitals.

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.

*UPDATE September 2019. A reader of my blog, Robert Alcock, has notified me that he believes  he has found the canopy of the “Cleethorpes” drinking fountain removed from St James Square Grimsby in the late 70’s. It is in a salvage Yard near Louth Lincolnshire.


  • 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
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Temple Fountain

Location: Kingston-upon-Hull, England

This ‘lost’ drinking fountain was erected on the north east side of Queen’s Road beside the chapel compliments of Mr. Joseph Temple, a printer’s broker, who lived at Palmerston House in De Grey Street in 1882. In subsequent years, Temple became the proprietor of the Hull Daily Express and a member of the Cottingham Local Board. Although it is not known exactly when the fountain was installed, his will stated that £50 be directed to the donation of a fountain in his name (Temple died in 1895).

With the invention and introduction of the motor vehicle, the structure became an obstacle to traffic, and a notation in council minutes of 1925 advocated that the fountain be removed and installed in Pearson Park.

The structure which was over 11 feet tall was manufactured by Andrew Handyside and Co. of Derby, England and was design number 48 in the 1877 catalogue.

The cylindrical structure with attic base was comprised of six fluted Corinthian columns with decorative volutes which supported a cupola with Neptune mask frieze and a cornice with leaf detail. A solid dome was surmounted by a sculptured basin and a putto carrying an urn on his shoulder. The original font was an unusual form resembling a capped urn with lion masks spouting water. A dedication plaque was attached to the cylindrical base.



  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • 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
  • Cupola, A small, domed structure on top of a roof
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Putto, A figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Volute, a spiral scroll-like ornament found in the capital of a column