Category Archives: Architecture

Carriden Church Drinking Fountain

Location: Bo’Ness, West Lothian, Scotland

Design number 4 standing 4 feet 9inches high from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow featuring a single pedestal with decorative bands seated on an octagonal plinth. Rising from the basin is a bulbous form supporting a pointed finial and two consoles from which metal cups were suspended on chains.

This font is located north of the old Carriden Parish Church in part of the graveyard.




  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Renton Drinking Fountain

Location: Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

This drinking fountain, originally located near the Smollett Monument in the village of Renton, now stands in a paved seating area at the Integrated Healthy Living Centre on Main Street. It is one of two drinking fountains presented in 1886 by Alexander Wylie of Cordale to the Local Authority of Cardross Parish to commemorate the opening of the Carman Reservoir.


The structure is in a state of disrepair and many of the original features are missing including the original font which was replaced with a pillar style drinking fountain made by Glenfield & Kennedy Ltd. of Kilmarnock. The original font was design number 7 standing 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) with 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 to release water flow.


The canopied drinking fountain is design number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Canopy 8_Saracen

Original casting of Saracen Canopy #8

The Renton example varies from the standard design which is not unusual as customization of each order was offered. The rope moulded cartouches within each lunette commonly contained optional memorial shields and the image of a crane which in this case has been replaced with a dog and the legend ‘Fides’. Fides was the goddess of trust, and the phrase ‘bona fides’ meant good faith.


The memorial shield hosts a dedication; Presented / By / Alex. Wylie Of Cordale / To Local Authority / Of Cardross Parish / To Commemorate / The Opening Of / Renton Water Works / 1886.


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 is surmounted by an open filigree dome, and although the standard finial was a crown with a pattée cross there is no photographic evidence to confirm.

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.


  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

All images used via Creative Commons License, Lairich Rig. Source:

Market Square Fountain

Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

At the main gate to the Market Square stands the historic drinking fountain originally located at Five Corners. Joseph Heywood who owned 5 acres of property at this location installed a drinking fountain/horse trough there in 1885 to quench the thirst of tired horses hauling loads from rural Saanich to Victoria. It was replaced with another fountain in 1937 by Maurice Humber to celebrate the city’s 75th anniversary.

An informative plaque on the structure details its history.
Market Square Main Gate Fountain
This Historic Fountain Was Originally Erected Near The Turn Of The / Century At ‘The Edge Of Town’ Known As The Five Corners / Government Douglas Gorge And Hillside Streets / The Three Level Fountain Provided Water For Parched Travellers / And Their Thirsty Horses, As Well As Smaller Animals Such As Dogs / And Pigs On Their Way To Market/ The Fountain Was Removed To The City Work Yards In 1950 Where / It Languished Until It Was Restored When These Nine Heritage / Buildings Were Refurbished In 1975 To Create Market Square.

Seated on a square plinth is a single pedestal with attic base containing a small demi-lune basin on two sides for the use of dogs. Two large demi-lune fluted horse troughs located above supplied the dog basins with overflow water. The front of the fountain has an extended arm supporting a basin for human use. A panel with bas-relief displays the figure of a classically robed woman holding a cup. Egg and dart moulding sits below the cornice.

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  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Egg and dart, a carving of alternating oval shapes and dart or arrow shapes
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Gourock’s Lost Drinking Fountains

Location: Gourock

These two lost cast iron drinking fountains, for which I have been unable to find information on erection dates or other history, were manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland.

The fountain located in Kempock Street was replaced by the early 1950s with a car park for the Ashton Café.


Source: Facebook/Gourock and District in old photos


Source: Facebook/Gourock and District in old photos


Source: Facebook/Gourock and District in old photos

The second drinking fountain was located on the Promenade and was very similar with the exception of the crane terminal.


Source: Facebook/Gourock and District in old photos

Design number 7 standing 5 ft 8ins featured a single pedestal basin with four pilasters rising from an octagonal plinth. Four salamanders descended the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery.

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


  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal