Category Archives: Coalbrookdale Company

Aberdare’s Jubilee Fountain

Location: Aberdare, Wales

A drinking fountain donated by Sir W. T. Lewis was installed at Commercial Place to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee (60 years) of Queen Victoria who was the head of a realm of 450 million people stretching across every continent.

The fountain was officially dedicated on 18 November 1897 by the wife of Sir William Lewis. It was a grand affair with bunting, drooping swags and flags decorating the area of Commercial Place. Members of the Aberdare District Council, tradesmen and the Aberdare Male Voice Choir were in attendance. Lady Lewis was presented with an inscribed gold cup from which she drank the first cup of water from the fountain. In honour of the occasion the area was renamed Victoria Square.

The structure most likely became obsolete due to advances in sanitation and the advent of the motor vehicle. It is believed it was stored in the council yard from which it disappeared.

Many ornamental iron decorations were destroyed after being requisitioned during the Second World War, as raw material for the war industries and to boost public morale. In Britain, the ill-considered scheme resulted in the unnecessary destruction of much of Britain’s ornamental street furniture, as the material was mostly unsuitable for use in manufacturing munitions and was consequently consigned to rust away in scrap yards around the country.

1890 flickr

1900 Facebook

Circa 1900

This cast iron structure manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company was seated on a rectangular plinth with rounded edges, and consisted of a trough with a drinking fountain centerpiece. A font centrally positioned split the trough into two animal trenches decorated with floral lunettes on panels.

A step to assist children was positioned beneath a demi-lune font on each side of the structure. A lion mascaron within a lunette spouted a continual flow of water into the basin which was then directed to the small troughs below for the use of dogs.

A bust of Queen Victoria was situated within four Corinthian columns with attic base extending from short pedestals with floral decoration. Directly above the abacus was a central fluted lamp pillar with two entwined dolphins at the base surmounted with a glass globe illuminated by a gas mantle.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions were acknowledged as guardians and dolphins are guardians of all things water related.


  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Corinthian columns, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Gas Mantle, a fibrous bag impregnated with minerals which offered a bright white light from a small flame.
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mask/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.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Bishopsgate Lost Fountain

Location: London, England

This post is related to a ‘lost’ drinking fountain once located in the area of Bishopsgate in London. There were several drinking fountains located near or on the railings of St. Botolph church, and two of them were donated by Charles Gilpin M.P.

A record sourced from Historic England listing 1359170: Drinking Fountain 1866; 2 stone piers flanking entrance to churchyard from Bishopsgate. Stone with pink granite bands and bowls beneath niches decorated with masks. Brass fittings. South fountain reads “The Gift of the Churchwardens 1866” on side elevation. North fountain reads “The Gift of C Gilpin Esq MP. 1866”

The cast iron drinking fountain which no longer exists  was located in close proximity to the parish church of St Boltoph (I have been unable to discover the specific location). It was presented by Mr. Charles Gilpin M.P. on Wed 11thJuly 1860 to the ward of Bishopsgate in which he resided. Mr. Metcalfe Hopgood of the Common Council took the first draught of water and proposed the health of her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Gilpin was a Quaker and a publisher who was involved in radical politics. He campaigned for parliamentary, economic and land reform as well as the abolition of slavery and capital punishment. The gift of a drinking fountain to encourage the abstinence of alcohol and give an alternative to the thirsty passersby was an acknowledgment to his membership in the Temperance movement which he joined as a youth.

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th. century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.


The cast iron frame was 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, contained a sculpture of winged cherubs resting upon clouds. The design offered a legend beneath the cherub, 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. Two cups were suspended on chains on each side of the arch. The foundry’s name is engraved on the edge of the basin, Coalbrookdale Co.

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

Below is an example of the same design still in existence in the town of Hythe in Kent.


Circa 2012. Creative Commons License, Nilfanion. Source:


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


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Auchencairn, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

A drinking fountain, lamp & trough located in the Square has been a fixture since the late 19th century. It was funded with public subscriptions and erected in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The fountain which was only one of a few water sources in the very early 1900s also offered water to horses.

The project to restore the fountain was undertaken in 2009 by Roy Wilson who was an active member of the Auchencairn Initiative (a community fundraising organization). The structure was cleaned, repaired and repainted by Ray Innes of Innes Design Centre, a local British Industrial Design Engineer.

The structure was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire, England and was originally seated on an octagonal stone plinth. A thick circular pedestal supported a large round trough from which overflow water fed a shallow trough at ground level for the use of smaller animals. During the late 20th century (post 1996) the plinth was extended using cobblestones creating a circular shape, and the short pedestal and shallow drain forming a trough for dogs was removed.

Beneath the capital of a short column rising from the centre of the trough are two decorative consoles from which drinking cups were originally suspended on chains. The decorative fluted lamp pillar with yoke maintenance arms was surmounted with a gas globe (Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System.)

The manufacturer’s name is located on the trough basin, and on the fluted pedestal is a decorative shield inscribed with a dedication; Jubilee Lamp / Erected By / Public / Subscription / 1897.


  • Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System, a cluster of wide flat burners within a glass lantern in which the upper portion was white opaque glass to reflect the light downward
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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.
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Queen Victoria Wall Fountain

Location: London, Surrey, England

In the grounds of Hampton Court Palace a 19th-century drinking fountain is set into the border wall of the Broad Walk which is in front of the eastern façade of the palace. It was installed soon after Queen Victoria opened the Palace and Gardens to the public in 1838.

The fountain was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed trefoil arch which contains the drinking well. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below. A metal cup was chained to the right side of the shield. On either side of the well are seated putti holding daffodils on high whilst resting on acanthus foliage.

Two inscriptions were engraved: on the arch, Wills Brothers Sculpt London; and on the lower edge of the structure, Cast By The Coalbrookdale Co.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes


Clock Tower Fountain

Location: Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

In 1858 a tower was erected by public subscription to replace the Guildhall in the square at the top of Great Darkgate Street. A clock was installed courtesy of the noble family of Pryse of Gogerddan.


Original clock tower circa 1905

The highly unpopular decision to demolish the original clock tower in 1957 was necessary due to safety concerns with the upper masonry. The current clock tower which was erected to celebrate the millennium bears no resemblance to the original design.


A plaque in Welsh with English translation states;
This Clock Tower Was Inaugurated By Cllr D J Rowland Jones, Chairman Of Ceredigion City Council And Cllr Jaci Taylor Mayor Of Aberystwyth On 20th October 2000. Its Construction Was Funded By Ceredigion County Council And The Wales Tourist Board.

The drinking fountain at the base of the clock tower was donated in the mid-19th century by the Reverend John Williams who was a local Methodist minister and founder of the Band of Hope temperance group in Aberystwyth. They met in the Tabernacl Chapel and processed around the Town Clock.



The original drinking fountain has been incorporated into the south face of the current tower. The central area where the font was located now hosts a plaque in Welsh with English translation; This Casting Surrounded The Drinking Fountain On The Original Clock Tower And Was Donated By The Rev. John Williams (1826-1898) Of Tabernacl, An Ardent Advocate Of Total Abstinence And Founder Of Band Of Hope Aberystwyth.

Coalbrookdale_Jesus Samaria

The fountain was designed by brothers William and Thomas Wills, sculptors best known for their designs of drinking fountains. Their cast iron fountain designs were manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Co. Limited.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette of a winged cherub resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub was a recessed arch which contained the font.

Each side of the arch is decorated with flowers and ivy tendrils. On the left side is a seated figure of Jesus Christ pointing with his left hand to the engraved verses 13 and 14 of St John’s Gospel, Chapter IV. Jesus Said / Whosoever Drinketh Of This Water Shall / Thirst Again But Whosoever Drinketh Of / The Water That I Shall Give Him Shall /Never Thirst. But The Water That I Shall / Give Him Shall Be In Him. A Well Of Water / Springing Up Into Everlasting Life / John IV. 13. 14.

On the right is a seated figure of the Woman of Samaria with her right hand resting on her cheek and her left hand on a tall urn. The vignette is a pictorial scene of Jesus meeting the Woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well.


  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Vignette, portrayal of an episode

Emanuel Emanuel Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Called an officious little Jew by the Hampshire Telegraph in 1849 during a period of latent antisemitism, Alderman Emanual Emanuel was a leading force in reforming the town of Portsmouth. Although he refused to take the mandatory Christian oath of office, his focus nonetheless was a fearless spokesman for the advancement of the community. He was a leading force in many important projects i.e. securing water and gas supplies, promoting the railway to London, securing land for Victoria Park (now known as the People’s Park), creating piers and construction of the Esplanade. He became the first Jewish Mayor of Portsmouth in 1849.

He died in 1888 and was celebrated with a huge public funeral. His children donated a memorial drinking fountain to the Portsmouth Corporation five years later. It was erected at South Parade where it remained from 1893 to 1934. When it became an obstacle to motor traffic, the structure was relocated to the western end of the Canoe Lake. The Fountain was restored in 1962, 1991 and 2005, and was recorded as a Grade: II listed building on March 18th, 1999.

The Fountain is design #126 manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Company in Shropshire. The structure is seated on a square plinth with canted corners. A granite base supports the rounded polished granite pedestal bearing the 5ft 4ins high bronze figure of Temperentia by John Bell. The pedestal offers two taps for drinking which originally contained cups suspended on chains. The bronze statue with wings close to the body has her head lowered as she watches a dove seated on her right hand drink from a water-lily in her left hand.

An inscription on the back of the base reads: In Memory Of Emanuel Emanuel, Alderman, J.P. / Who Was Mayor Of Portsmouth 1866-67 / This Fountain Was Given To The People Of Portsmouth / By His Son And Daughter / Barrow Emanuel And Lady Magnus / Aldn. R. Barnes, Mayor 1893.

A cast iron canopy over the drinking fountain is supported by four columns; the base of each is gilded with the letters CBD (Coalbrookdale). The columns are sculpted in the form of a vine; internal and external capitals are gilded water lilies with acorn finials (originally these finials were four glazed lanterns). The vines connect in an arch on each of the four sides, and above each arch are intersecting vines and water-lilies.


  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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.

Archibald Hood Memorial Fountain

Location: Tonypandy, Rhondda, Wales

On Thursday October 28, 1909, a memorial fountain commemorating Archibald Hood J.P., a Scotsman who founded the Glamorgan Collieries, was unveiled in Pandy Square, Tonypandy. The fountain was erected using a surplus of the fund subscribed by the workmen and others towards a statue of Hood which had been placed in the grounds of the Workmen’s Institute at Llwynypia. Mr. Hood was greatly honoured, respected and loved throughout the whole of the South Wales coalfield.

The 13 feet high cast iron fountain, designed by Mr. R. S. Griffiths, a local architect, was manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Company. It was seated on a pedestal of Aberdeen granite and had three demi-lune basins into which lion mascarons spouted water. A drinking cup suspended on a chain was provided at each tap. The structure offered two demi-lune troughs at ground level for dogs and a large trough for horses and cattle. The central pedestal contained an inscription; This Fountain Is Erected In Conjunction With The Statue At The Workmen’s Institute, By The Workmen Of Llwynypia Colliery And Others As A Memorial To The Late Archibald Hood. Esq., J.P., Founder Of The Llwynypia Collieries. There was also an inscription in Welsh Y Cyfiawn A Fydd Ofalus Am Fywyd Ei Anifail (Diar. xii. 10.), from Proverbs XII.10: ‘What Feeling Has A Righteous Man For His Beast’.

The capital supported a statue of an Egyptian water carrier. Standing contrapposto,she was dressed in classical robes with her arms stretched upwards clutching a gas lamp atop the anticipated water jug. From the four corners of the capital dolphins lay at her feet (dolphins were considered guardians of all things water related.)

This famous Tonypandy statue was damaged and her arms broken when a car hit the fountain in 1965. The statue was repaired and erected outside the firm of W. Ribbons Limited remaining there until the factory closed. The ‘Lady With the Lamp’ was then relocated behind the War Memorial in Dunraven Street.

The fate of the fountain is unknown. In general, the location of many of these fountains became a hindrance to motor traffic, and public awareness of sanitation meant that many of these structures were demolished.

The statue continued to deteriorate until it was removed in 1993 with the intention of repair. However, it remained in storage until 2010. With money from the Civic Trust Wales, a project to restore and reinstate the statue was led by the Rhondda Civic Society. Nigel Snell of Acorn Restorations refurbished the statue, recreating missing parts by referencing photos of the original drinking fountain when it was officially unveiled in 1909.

The statue is now located not far from the site of its original location in a specially designed community garden in De Winton Street, outside the old Town Hall. It stands on a stone pedestal with the original legend inscribed beneath.


Many of the photos were found on the Facebook page, Tonypandy Past and Present.


  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • 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