Wallasey Drinking Fountains

Location: Wallasey, Merseyside, England

Harrison Park which was presented to the Town in 1896 by the Harrison family in memory of their parents is home to a unique cast iron drinking fountain. Manufactured by the Scottish firm of Glenfield & Kennedy Ltd. it was restored during regeneration of the park in 2003.

The pillar fountain advertised as model D34 has a square base with a Greek geometric design often associated with Alexander Thomson. Four panels edged with rope frieze contain lion mascarons and a sun/flower orb. One of the panels identifies the manufacturer; Glenfield & / Kennedy / Limited / Kilmarnock.

Four basins with scalloped edge are located beneath the lion heads which spout water. Drinking water was originally captured in tin cups and overflow water fell into the basin and was directed to small troughs at ground level for the use of animals. The capital supports a base with dog tooth frieze surmounted by a putto blowing a horn with a stylized dolphin resting at his feet. A new casting of this statue was created as part of the fountain’s restoration.

 

A second drinking fountain was located at the Pier Head tram terminus in New Brighton. Design number 19 was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated on an octagonal plinth, it had a wide base with canted corners supporting a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus.

The lamp pillar contained four protruding consoles which suspended drinking cups on chains. The column terminated in an elaborate design featuring two lanterns. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times and lions were symbolic of guardianship.


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
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Putto, 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
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

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