Town House Fountain

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

In an area of Aberdeen known as Old Machar there is a building on the cobbled High Street which was originally the Town House (Town Hall) in the 19th century. A weekly market and a bi-annual fair were held in this location and likely the reason for the erection of a drinking fountain/trough with a single lamp.

The fountain no longer exists and a mercat cross stands in its stead.

The cast iron drinking fountain was design number 174 manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It consisted of a central pedestal flanked by two horse troughs with a lamp centerpiece.

The pedestal with chamfered edge hosted four panels. On three sides a compass cross contained a lion mascaron with self-closing tap from which water spouted into small basins. Drinking water was captured in metal cups suspended on chains. Overflow water which drained into troughs for horses also fed small troughs at ground level for dogs.

A frieze of acanthus leaves was situated beneath the capital upon which there was a lamp standard seated on four decorative consoles. A bulbous base with bas-relief extended into a fluted column with bands. An acroter supported a single glass lantern.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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

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