Stumped in Scotland

These are drinking fountains for which I have been unable to discover any information yet the historic images are worth viewing.

CADDER CEMETERY Located in Cadder, East Dunbartonshire. The image shows the fountain in 1977 which unfortunately no longer exists.

This design was number 7 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue and was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Standing 5ft 8ins it featured a single pedestal basin with four pilasters rising from an octagonal plinth. Four salamanders descend the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery.

The basin, 2ft 6 ins in diameter, has a scalloped edge and decorative relief. The interior surface is engraved, and a sculptured urn is terminated by the figure of a crane, a symbol of vigilance. Four elaborate consoles support drinking cups on chains. Water flows from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allows for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Salamanders represent bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

BALGAY HILL, DUNDEE This drinking fountain located near the bandstand is shown in 1872.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure wa 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the image of a crane, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,’ or optional memorial shields. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was 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 stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. 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. 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


The horse trough was design #11 manufactured by Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. The cast iron basin was 5 feet in diameter. The structure was supported by 4 cattle hooves. The fetlock transitioned at the interface with the trough into an acanthus scroll motif.

GOUROCK Morton Terrace.

The fountain was design #31 from the catalogue of Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated on a circular stone plinth, the wide base was in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with four lion jambs supporting four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins for horses. The stanchion was decorated with bands of acanthus and alternating panels of cranes and swans. Four consoles protruded from a circular fluted shaft to suspend drinking cups on chains. The standard design was offered with a round lamp.

HAMILTON Burnbank Cross. The fountain was situated at an area called Peacock Cross in Burnbank. To the left of the fountain was High Blantyre Road and to the right Glasgow Road. The fountain was removed in the 1920s.

Design #27 was 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 horse hooves. Fetlocks transitioned into an acanthus scroll motif at the interface with the trough. 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 a central gas lamp roofed in with scales of opal glass which allowed the lantern to cast the light downward. The terminal was a crown.

OBAN, ARGYLLSHIRE The intersection of Stafford Street and George Street hosted two drinking fountains in close proximity to each other.

Unfortunately there is not enough detail in the above photographs to discern the specific design of the canopied 4 pillar structure.

The second drinking fountain was Sun #16, an octagonal shaped pedestal drinking fountain with entablature and bolt consoles beneath an ogee cupola and panels of fleur-de-lys motif. An octagonal case with balcony passing entirely around it served as a trough to receive waste water from tap and for washing hands. It also supplied water to a small trough at ground level for the use of dogs. By placing the dog trough in a recess the water was prevented from being rendered unclean from the feet of persons frequenting the fountain. The terminal was a six sided glass pane lantern capped with a ball and spike finial.


  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • 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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