Earlsdon Avenue Drinking Fountain

Location: Earlsdon, Coventry, England

The drinking fountain located on Earlsdon Avenue South is a remnant of the original structure erected in 1870 at Spon Street near St. John Baptist Church.

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Image circa 1884

The fountain which was surmounted by a large gas street lamp replaced a red sandstone fountain erected by the Coventry United Temperance and Band of Hope Association on the same site in September 1859.

Considered redundant in 1921 the fountain was relocated to Earlsdon Avenue at Styvechale Common, but whether the lamp was removed at this point in time is unknown. It remained operational until the 1970s. Decades of disuse and a lack of maintenance followed causing deterioration of the structure.

A movement to restore the drinking fountain was successfully funded by Heritage Lottery. The project was co-ordinated by two local community groups, the South Earlsdon Neighbours Association and the Earlsdon Research Group, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Severn Trent Water.

The actual restoration was undertaken by the Fountain Company of Glossop in Derbyshire in 2015. When reinstalled with brass spigots and a connected water supply, it was rotated 90° from its original position to situate the basins in a north/south direction. It was listed a Grade II historic building on 15 May 2017.

Design #27 from the catalogue of George Smith & Co. was manufactured at the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. This octagonal shaped drinking fountain is a single pedestal with attic base and inset arched panels that offered space for dedications. Two demi-lune basins with drinking cups suspended by chains offered water to humans, and at ground level was a basin for dogs. Entablature with bolt consoles sit beneath an ogee cupola with alternate panels of fleur de lys motif. The original structure was surmounted with a Bray’s Patent Flat Flame gas lantern in the form of a large globe. An acorn shaped finial was attached to the restored fountain (standard finial used on George Smith’s font pattern #14, and the base of the original lamp fountain).

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Entablature, moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Ogee, curve with a concave
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