Monthly Archives: February 2018

Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard Fountain

Location: Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, England

A cast iron drinking fountain for use by shipyard workers was mounted on a wall on Ellison Street at the entrance to the Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard. The fountain identified by me as ‘lost’ because it is no longer visible was actually stolen from the derelict building in 2005.

The fountain was from a design by brothers William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk who were noted sculptors in the mid 19th. century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains. It was manufactured by Emley and Walker of Newcastle. Once recorded as a Grade II historic building it was delisted in 2014.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved and winged edges. The top part of the shield, in the form of an ogee arch, contains a sculpture of winged cherubs resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub is a legend, He Opened The Rock And / The Waters Gushed Out / They Ran In The Dry Places / Like A River / Psalm CV 41.

A recessed round arch contained the drinking well and the name of the sculptors, Wills Brothers Sculpt London. Water was dispersed into the basin via a spigot concealed behind a clam shell decoration situated in the interior of the arch.

Each side of the arch is decorated with reeds and foliage. On the left side is a robed male figure with long beard standing contrapposto. In his left hand is a rod resting on the cusp of the arch. This is a depiction of Moses striking the rock to release gushing water. On the right of the drinking well is the robed figure of a woman offering a basin of water to a naked child.


  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Ogee arch, an arch with a concave apex

The Original Drinking Fountain at Saracen Cross

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

The cast iron canopy restored in 1999 at the intersection of Saracen Street and Bardowie Street known as Saracen Cross has been researched and can be viewed at this link.

An entirely different type of drinking fountain stood in the same location in 1878. This fountain was also a source of water for horses.

The 12ft 6ins. high drinking fountain was design #27 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was advertised as well suited for Street Crossings, Squares, Market Places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

It provided a drinking trough for horses with small basins for dogs at ground level. The trough was a 6’6” diameter circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The water was regulated by a small patent cistern, which was self-acting, and when the troughs were full the ball rose and shut the water off.

The central stanchion supported a central column with flared bases and pilasters. Four projecting consoles suspended cups on chains that allowed humans to drink from spouting water (the water flow was operated with two bib valves which released water when pressed). Horses drank from the large basin. A dedication shield located directly above the consoles was adhered to the fluted shaft. The decorative capital, enriched with acanthus and rosette with a dog tooth frieze, supported four lanterns. The terminal was a four sided clock.

SCO_Glasgow Saracen Cross_archivebebo_7SCO_Glasgow Saracen Cross_archivebebo_13


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Dog tooth, pyramid shaped carving
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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.
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal